HONOLULU (CBSNewYork) — Passengers on a United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Honolulu were told to brace for impact after the cover of one of the plane’s two engines came off mid-flight.
It was a frightening ride for the people aboard Flight 1175 as the Boeing 777 flew above the Pacific Ocean, not knowing if they’d survive.
“You could just see everyone’s faces, scared,” said passenger Cheryle Tillman. “And they just told everybody to cross your hands and keep your head down.”
The plane was midway through the five-hour-plus flight Tuesday when passengers looked out their windows to see the casing of one of the plane’s engine’s had blown off.
“They came back on and said it’s one of the engines blew out,” said passenger Gerri Kipta.
Those on board described hearing a loud bang and then turbulence.
“My mom was crying. I saw a bunch of other people crying around me,” one passenger said. “I think we were bracing for the worst, like what if this actually lands on the water.”
“My husband and I were just praying because we had never gone through this experience,” passenger Delia Sudiacal told KMGB-TV. “I really thought we were going to die.”
Forty minutes outside of Honolulu, they say the engine then started spewing debris. The 363 passengers say the 10 crew members did their best to keep people calming, warning them it could be a rough landing.
“They were so brave and we were so brave too,” one woman said. “It was awful. Lot of families with little children, it was awful.”
Emergency crews were waiting on the tarmac as they finally touched down safely on the ground in Honolulu.
“They landed incredibly smoothly and those pilots should get an award or something because we all landed safely and incredibly smoothly,” passenger Allison Sudiacal. “It was amazing.”
United said in a statement that Flight 1175 “called for an emergency landing due to a mechanical issue” and said all passengers “deplaned normally at the gate.”
The engine did not catch fire and no one was hurt. The NTSB said it is investigating.
Passengers say they shook the hands of both of their pilots as the exited the plane, thanking them for the safe landing.