LAS VEGAS: A Frontier Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Florida had to turn back on Friday (Nov 30) after a part of its engine cover ripped off during takeoff.
Passenger CJ Gunnerson sent a photo of the damage to his friend Brandon Rittiman, a television reporter with American news agency ABC10.
Sharing the photo on Twitter, Rittiman said the flight, with 177 people on board, had to make an emergency landing in Las Vegas after the “hatch came up and ripped off during take off”.
The photo shows a green metal flap that had become partially detached from the Airbus A320’s body, exposing the engine.
Describing the incident to local news agency WTSP, Gunnerson said that “it was like a riot on the plane” and that passengers were “jumping up screaming, slamming on the roof”.
Another passenger, Stella Ponce, told the news outlet that she had texted her daughter to say that she loved her.
Ponce said she had been sleeping and awoke to “a lot of screaming and yelling”. She added that people were yelling for the pilot to stop and that two women were crying while other passengers were pointing out the window.
According to flight tracking website FlightAware, Frontier Flight 260 took off for Tampa at 7.12am local time and returned to Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport at 7.27am local time.
A report quoted an airline spokesperson as saying that a section of the engine cover called a cowling came loose and separated from the plane.
The spokesperson added that all passengers were given a refund and a US$500 voucher for a future Frontier flight. The airline also reaccommodated passengers on other airlines to ensure they would be able to reach Florida as quickly as possible.
All 171 passengers and six crew members were reported safe.