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Passenger killed after engine fragment damages Southwest jet

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In a phone interview, passenger Matt Tranchin told NBC News that about 20 minutes after takeoff, he heard what sounded like an engine explosion, and said a “shard of the engine hit the window.”

“The plane dropped immediately. Our oxygen masks dropped immediately,” said Tranchin, 34, of Dallas.

After the window blew out, the flight crew prepared for an emergency landing, Tranchin said.

“As we landed, they kept repeating: ‘Brace for landing! Brace for landing!’ ” he said.

While the plane sped toward the airport, Tranchin sent frantic goodbye messages to his family.

“It was one of those things when you don’t want to terrify your family, but if you do go down, you don’t want to not say goodbye.”

“It was one of those things when you don’t want to terrify your family, but if you do go down, you don’t want to not say goodbye.”

“My wife is in her third trimester,” he said. “We’re expecting our first child. It was one of those things when you don’t want to terrify your family, but if you do go down, you don’t want to not say goodbye.”

 The shattered window near the engine.Matt Tranchin

Connor Martin, another passenger, was among those who saw the woman almost get sucked out of the plane.

“People were pulling her back in,” he said. “There was a panic once the window broke and she was out of the window. Everybody kind of rushed in to pull her back in the plane.”

Southwest said there were 143 passengers and five crew members aboard the Boeing 737.

Thiel, the fire commissioner, said, “The flight crew did an incredible job getting this aircraft here on the ground.”

While he did not confirm any of the details about passengers’ helping to pull the woman back inside the plane, he said it was his understanding that they “did some pretty amazing things under some pretty difficult circumstances.”

In a video posted on YouTube, Kelly, Southwest’s CEO, said the airline would do everything possible to support the loved ones of the passenger who died, as well as to support the survivors.

“The safety of our customers and our crew is always our uncompromising priority,” Kelly said.

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