Southwest flight from Denver makes emergency landing after 'mechanical issue,' airline says

Lisa C

A Southwest Airlines flight had to make an emergency landing Sunday morning after the engine cover detached during takeoff, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Boeing 737-800 aircraft, which had been scheduled to fly from Denver to Houston, landed safely back at Denver International Airport just after 8:00 a.m. and was towed to the gate, according to the airport and airline.

According to the FAA, which is now investigating the incident, crew members aboard the flight said "the engine cowling fell off during takeoff and struck the wing flap."

In a statement, Southwest Airlines said the flight "landed safely after experiencing a mechanical issue." Customers were rebooked on other flights, and maintenance teams are now inspecting the plane, the airline said.

Footage taken by some passengers showed what appeared to be part of the plane hanging off and flapping in the breeze.

"It all blew away," one person can be heard saying in a video taken by passenger Lisa C., after which several people on board can be heard breaking out in cheers as the plane touches back down.

The engine cowling "peeled off within the first 10 minutes" of the flight, Lisa C. told ABC News.

"We all felt kind of a bump, a jolt, and I looked out the window because I love window seats, and there it was," she said.

Another passenger, Cooper Glass, told ABC News the experience was "frightening."

"People in the exit row across from me started yelling up to the flight attendants and showed them the damage," Glass said.

Glass praised the pilot, whom he said "did a great job on landing."

ABC News' Sam Sweeney, Samira Said, and Helena Skinner contributed to this report.

Sunday, April 7, 2024 at 4:44PM by Julia Reinstein Permalink