In recent times, a flurry of flight mishaps has been making the news. From a passenger plane skidding off a runway and getting stuck precariously on the side of a cliff in northeast Turkey to a Delta flight making an emergency landing due to broken toilets, passengers have seen it all. And now, there is a new mishap getting added to the list. This one’s a tad scarier and “terrifying”, as the people on board describe it. Passengers on board a flight from San Francisco to Honolulu were in for one of the scariest flights of their life when the engine’s cowling apparently came off mid-flight. Cowling is the piece that cover’s the plane’s engine. This was discovered by Google Engineer Erik Haddad, who was on the flight. Haddad also captured a video of the shocking sight and shared it on Twitter.
United Airlines flight 1175 flight had to make an emergency landing because of the mechanical issue. The flight had left San Francisco International Airport at 9:38 a.m. and all was good for much of the five-hour-plus trip to Honolulu’s Daniel K Inouye International Airport. About 36 minutes from Honolulu Airport, Haddad states that the engine began spewing debris. Video posted by Haddad shows the cowling missing completely. The dramatic footage also shows a piece of the plane shaking furiously, and one can only imagine the fear that the passengers must have experienced. The pilot then called for an emergency landing and it landed at Honolulu’s airport about 1:02 p.m. Fortunately, the plane was able to land safely and there were no reports of injuries.
Haddad tweeted out the video with a hilarious and pun-ny caption. One of his tweets read, “That looks bad, plane and simple.” Another tweet has a picture of Haddad looking at the plane’s safety manual with the grim scene in the background, implying that there is no safety instruction for a situation like this.
Check out Haddad’s tweets here:
But not everyone took the situation lightly like Haddad. Passengers have reportedly said that there were some tense moments after the engine problem, which happened about 40 minutes before the plane was due to land. Hawaii News Now quotes passenger Allison Sudaical saying, “There was a loud bang … and then the plane really started shaking. There was a loud boom and then it was like rattling and the plane was kind of shaking like boom, boom, boom.” Her husband Tim called the flight absolutely “terrifying”. Sudaical, however, added that the crew kept them informed and asked them to be prepared in case there is a rough landing.
Check out her tweets here:
In a statement to the press, United Airlines said, “United flight 1175 travelling to Honolulu from San Francisco landed safely after the pilots called for an emergency landing because of a loss of the engine cowling (the covering of the engine)” the statement read. “Our pilots followed all necessary protocols to safely land the aircraft. The aircraft taxied to the gate and passengers deplaned normally.” NBC News aviation expert John Cox, former executive air safety chairman of the Air Line Pilots Association, also clarified that there is no need to panic. He explains that losing an engine cowling or casing wouldn’t normally affect an engine’s performance and that the plane and everyone on board wouldn’t have been in any danger.