NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – With his plane shaking violently and smoke filling the cabin, passenger Cliff McKenzie dialed his wife 26 times before connecting to her voicemail.
“Jan, I love you very, very much. This most likely could be the end. I want you to go on with your life,” he said.
Listening to it Wednesday afternoon, he remembered the moment aboard Spirit Airlines Flight 165 clearly. “This is what the heart sounds like in the last thing you think you’re about to do,” he said.
McKenzie remembers hearing two loud explosions and watching panic set in among passengers. “You could seem them hugging, some people were hugging each other, holding each other,” he said.
Ashlee Rogers received a text message from her husband who was also on the flight. “Ashlee I love you make sure the kids know that forever. We have a problem… the plane is full of smoke…” it read.
“My initial thought was, ‘How do you tell your children and you heart that their dad’s not coming home? We have three kids and who tells them that daddy’s not coming home?” she said.
An National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press the plane suffered an uncontained engine failure – a rare but serious event.
“The engines are supposed to be built so that when you have a failure like that, all the damage, all the parts that come off and go flying are contained inside the engine,” said Denny Kelly, an aviation expert.
“What you have is you have a bunch of shrapnel – for lack of a better term – coming out of the case and penetrating into the fuselage. In some instances, they penetrate far enough where they can hurt or even kill people on the inside.”
Spirit Airlines confirms the flight returned to DFW Airport where it made a normal landing
No one was injured, but the Federal Aviation Administration and the NTSB are both investigating.
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