'We all felt a kind of a bump, jolt': Engine cover rips open as Southwest flight takes off from DIA

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Posted at 11:38 AM, Apr 07, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-08 09:52:20-04

DENVER — An engine cover on a Boeing 737 operated by Southwest Airlines ripped open just after taking off from Denver International Airport Sunday morning.

The Houston-bound Southwest flight took off from DIA around 7:45 a.m., and returned to the airport 30 minutes later, landing safely. No injuries were reported.

But just moments before touchdown, panic filled the cabin of Flight 3695 as passengers felt and heard what had just happened to the cover over the plane’s right engine.

They immediately got the attention of flight attendants after witnessing the event.

"People in the exit row across from me started yelling up to the flight attendants and showed them the damage. We turned around and made a full-speed landing,” passenger Cooper Glass told ABC News. “Pilots did a great job on the landing. We got checked out by the fire department then got towed in."

Lisa, a passenger onboard the flight, told Denver7 the jolt from the engine cover blowout was felt in the cabin.

“I was sitting in right directly in front of that engine and we all felt a kind of a bump, jolt and I looked out the window because I love window seats and there was, we all lit up our call buttons because they didn't feel it or see it from the pilot's viewpoint,” Lisa told Denver7.

Lisa said the pilots appeared to be very cautious as they turned the 737 around and back to Denver.

“I have some pilot experience and I could tell that they were making maneuvers to very slowly come around because it really seemed like they didn't want to have anything else happen,” she said.

Engine cover rips open as Southwest flight takes off from Denver International Airport

Southwest Airlines issued a statement after the incident, saying it’s working to get passengers on their way to Houston after a "mechanical issue."

“Southwest Flight 3695 returned to Denver International Airport this morning and landed safely after experiencing a mechanical issue. We’re working now to get Customers on their way to Houston on another aircraft. Our Maintenance teams are reviewing the aircraft,” the statement read.

Federal authorities will likely begin an investigation into the incident. The Federal Aviation Administration has yet to issue a statement.

This is the second incident involving a Southwest flight in the past five days. On Thursday, Southwest says a Boeing 737 was preparing to take off from Lubbock, Texas, and fly to Las Vegas late Thursday when pilots got a report of an engine issue.

The Lubbock fire department says it confirms there was an engine fire that crews needed to extinguish. Southwest says there were 150 passengers and crew on board the plane, and there were no injuries.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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