Passengers describe mid-air scare when engine cover rips off plane
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Passengers on board a flight from San Francisco to Honolulu got quite a scare Tuesday when an engine covering apparently came off mid-flight.
"My husband and I were just praying because we had never gone through this experience," said passenger Delia Sudiacal. "I really thought we were going to die."
United Airlines flight 1175 was met with fire trucks when it made an emergency landing at Honolulu's airport about 1:02 p.m.
The plane was able to land safely and there were no reports of injuries.
But passengers said there were some tense moments after the engine problem, which happened about 40 minutes before the plane was due to land.
"There was a loud bang ... and then the plane really started shaking," said passenger Allison Sudiacal. "It was like rattling and the plane was kind of shaking like boom, boom, boom."
The good news: Sudiacal said despite the scary moments mid-air, the plane landed fairly smoothly.
"They kept us informed," said Sudiacal, who was traveling with her husband, 4-month-old son and parents-in-law.
"They let us know that we had to brace for impact in case there was a rough landing. It was scary. But they did a really good job."
Sudiacal's husband, Tim, called the flight "absolutely terrifying."
He said he couldn't see the problem engine — engine no. 2 — from where he was sitting.
"I think sometimes ignorance is bliss," he quipped.
Video posted online also showed the moments before the landing: Passengers chanted "Brace! Brace! Brace" as they neared the runway, then cheered when the plane landed without incident.
It wasn't immediately clear what went wrong, but photos appear to show the plane with a missing engine cowling, or covering.
In a statement, United Airlines said its pilots "followed all necessary protocols to safely land the aircraft," which had 363 passengers and 10 crew members on board.
The airline also said it is cooperating with NTSB and FAA investigations of the incident.
Audio of the pilot's discussions with air traffic control in Honolulu illustrate the tense moments just before landing.
Pilot: "If you haven't already, roll the fire trucks."
Air traffic control: "They will be standing by."
In a statement, the state Transportation Department said the United flight landed safely with Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting personnel standing by as a precaution. The plane has been taken to a hangar, the department said, and the incident didn't spur any delays at the airport.
This story will be updated.
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