Orlando-bound flight bears similarities to deadly Philadelphia incident

Southwest Flight 3472 encountered engine failure in 2016

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ORLANDO, Fla. – Tuesday's engine failure involving a Southwest Airlines jet en route from New York City to Dallas bears striking similarities to an incident at Orlando International Airport.

On Aug. 27, 2016, Southwest Airlines Flight 3472 was en route from New Orleans to Orlando when passengers said they heard a loud explosion.

They told News 6 they looked out their windows to see the front of the engine had been blown away.

The National Transportation Safety Board would later reveal pieces of the engine hit the fuselage, creating a 5-inch-by-16-inch hole.

The plane diverted to Pensacola, and no one was injured.

The NTSB declared the cause "uncontained engine failure," meaning part of the engine blew apart. 

Pictures of the engines involved in the Orlando incident in 2016 and the incident Tuesday in Philadelphia bear a striking similarity.

News 6 investigated and found more similarities between the two incidents.

Both planes were Boeing 737-700 models, and both have the same turbofan engines, model cfm56, made by CFM International.

Investigators from CFM arrived in Philadelphia on Tuesday night as part of a team dedicated to finding out what caused the issue there.

News 6 asked Southwest Airlines if they were connecting the causes of the two incidents, and a spokesperson responded with the same statement released earlier Tuesday: "Southwest Airlines Co. confirms an accident involving Southwest Airlines Flight 1380. The flight made an emergency diversion to Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) earlier today after the crew reported issues with the number one engine which resulted in damage to the fuselage.

We are deeply saddened to confirm that there is one fatality resulting from this accident. The entire Southwest Airlines Family is devastated and extends its deepest, heartfelt sympathy to the customers, employees, family members, and loved ones affected by this tragic event. We have activated our emergency response team and are deploying every resource to support those affected by this tragedy.

For a message from Gary Kelly, Southwest Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, please click here.

The aircraft involved today was a Boeing 737-700 (N772SW) and was en route from New York LaGuardia (LGA) to Dallas Love Field (DAL). In total, the flight had 144 customers and five Southwest crew members onboard. We extend our heartfelt appreciation to the Southwest pilots and flight attendants who acted professionally and swiftly to take care of our customers during the emergency diversion and landing.

Finally, Southwest Airlines officials are in direct contact with the NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration to support an immediate, coordinated response to this accident. Southwest is in the process of gathering additional information regarding flight 1380 and will fully cooperate in an investigative process. Please join the Southwest family in keeping all of those affected by today’s tragedy in your thoughts.​"

About the Author:

Erik Sandoval joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2013. He is one of the station’s lead reporters. During his time at News 6, Erik has covered several major stories, including the 2016 Presidential campaign. He was also one of the first reporters live on the air at the Pulse Nightclub shooting.