Spirit Airlines Flight 165 from Dallas Fort Worth to Atlanta had to make an emergency landing 20 minutes into a two-hour flight. Passengers reported that shortly after take off, the Airbus A319 started to shake for several minutes before hearing a loud bang followed by flames that lit up one side of the plane. Thick smoke started to fill the cabin making it difficult for panicked passengers to see. Fred Edwards, a passenger on Flight 165, said ‘shortly after the big explosion went off and lit up the side of the airplane it (smoke) just poured in all of the vents… before you know it you couldn’t see and that’s when everyone got scared’.
The situation was so dire, passengers started to send texts to their families and love ones saying goodbye. Mr. Edwards said he feared the worst and immediately texted his wife and children, “We’re on fire, love you.” Mr. Edwards continued to say, ‘it was pretty traumatic, you know, there for a few minutes I thought it was pretty much over.’
A spokeswoman for Spirit Airlines, Misty Pinson, commented on the accident: ‘Shortly after take-off of flight 165 from DFW to Atlanta the captain received an indication of a possible mechanical issue. There was smoke in the cabin. One engine was shut down which is normal procedure under these circumstances. However, this aircraft can operate on one engine’. ‘Following procedure and as a safety precaution, the plane returned to DFW. It was a normal landing and customers safely deplaned’.
She also added: ‘There were no injuries. We had another plane taking customers to Atlanta.’
145 passengers were on board of the Airbus A319 at the time of the emergency. There hasn’t been an explanation for the engine explosion but an investigation is underway.