TERRIFIED airline passengers could only watch as an engine started to tear apart mid-flight between Las Vegas and Florida.
Frightening footage, filmed by screaming passengers, shows parts of a plane engine cover being torn off. One Frontier Airlines passenger said: “The hatch came up and ripped off during take off.” He told Brandon Rittiman people were “jumping up screaming, slamming on the roof, yelling stop.”
Passengers, fearing for their lives, started calling loved ones to say goodbye.
The flight crew immediately requested a return to Las Vegas McCarran International Airport and were allowed to do so at 7:27 am, some 15 minutes after takeoff.
Every one of the 166 passengers and the six crew members were safe.
The airline reassured its customers: “The engine continued to operate normally and the aircraft, an Airbus 320, landed safely.”
A spokesman added: “During takeoff on Frontier flight 260 from Las Vegas to Tampa today, a section of an engine cover came loose and separated from the aircraft.
“Pilots immediately returned to airport.
“The engine continued to operate normally and the Airbus 320, landed safely.”
One passenger said the airline offered everyone a free breakfast voucher, a full refund and a $500 voucher for a future flight.
It follows a VietJet Aviation JSC flight that made a troubled landing on Thursday evening after the wheels on its front landing gear had “problems”, with passengers reporting minor injuries, the carrier and Vietnam’s aviation authority said on Friday.
The VietJet domestic flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Buon Ma Thuot carrying 207 passengers had a “serious problem” during landing where its “two front wheels have got problems”, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) said in a statement.
“The aircraft safely stopped on the runway at Buon Ma Thuot Airport,” CAAV said on its website.
Photos of the jet on the ground obtained by industry publication Flightglobal show emergency evacuation slides were deployed and the nose gear tires completely shorn off.
VietJet said all passengers were safe, with some slightly injured and immediately taken to hospital but since discharged. CAAV said six passengers were injured.
The plane was an Airbus A321 jet, delivered to VietJet two weeks ago on November 15.
An Airbus spokesman said the manufacturer was in contact with the airline and providing all necessary technical assistance.