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One dead on US jet as engine blast leads to forced landing

By Clark Mindock

One person has been killed after a Southwest Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia after the jet's engine exploded and caused depressurisation in the cabin.

Authorities did not immediately give details about who was killed.

A woman was reportedly pulled partway out of the craft after a piece of shrapnel from the engine smashed into the plane.

One individual was taken to hospital, while as many as seven others were treated for minor injuries.

The plane landed safely after the incident and firefighters could be seen responding to the scene while some people exited the aircraft on crutches.

Passenger Marty Martinez, who posted a video showing passengers with oxygen masks as the plane descended, later told CBS News that "there was blood everywhere".

"First there was an explosion, and then, almost immediately, the oxygen masks came down and probably within a matter of 10 seconds the engine hit a window and busted it wide open," Mr Martinez continued.

Officials say that the descent - from the time of the initial failure west of Philadelphia until it landed at the airport, southeast of the city's downtown - happened in "a fairly rapid manner". Information provided by FlightRadar24 showed the plane dropped from 30,000 feet to 13,000 feet in five minutes. The whole descent took about 15 minutes.

The plane, which was travelling from New York City to Dallas, was a part of the fleet owned by Southwest Airlines, the world's safest airline that boasts of zero previous deaths from crashes since starting operations in Texas in 1971.

After the engine failure, passengers began posting pictures and videos of the damaged engine online, showing what appeared to be a heavily damaged engine on the left side of the jet.

"One passenger, a woman, was partially drawn out of the plane... she was pulled back by other passengers," Todd Bauer, a man who said he was the father of the female passenger who was partially sucked out of the plane, told NBC in a phone interview.

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