Alfred Tumlinson and his wife were headed back to Corpus Christi after a week in New York City, but about 20 minutes into their flight from Laguardia to Dallas, the plane blew an engine at 32,000 feet.
Shrapnel from the engine smashed a window, decompressing the cabin.
“You never expect anything like this to happen,” said Tumlinson. “All you can do is pray in that situation. Prayer works, I can tell you that right now.”
A woman was sucked through the open window. Two passengers pulled her back in the plane; the woman later died. Seven others were injured.
Meanwhile, Tumlinson did his best to calm those around him.
“I wanted to take care of my wife first and then I wanted to take care of everybody else around me,’ said Tumlinson. “You don’t know where you’re going to end up in this situation.”
The plane made an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Safely on the ground, Tumlinson had high praise for the crew, especially the pilot.
“That lady has nerves of steel,” said Tumlinson. “The crew, everybody, they were awesome.”
Tumlinson says he’ll fly again. He also offers advice to anyone taking to the skies.
“All I can say is listen to the flight attendants when they tell you what to do when you get on a plane,” said Tumlinson. Please pay attention, because it is real.
Tumlinson and his wife finally left Philadelphia at 7:01 p.m. Eastern Time. According to Southwest’s website, the plane landed in Dallas at 9:28 p.m.
Five other Corpus Christi residents were also on the flight. Roland, Gina, and Denise Trevino along with Carlos and Iris Figueroa are all safe and sound. They rented a car in Philadelphia and are driving back to Corpus Christi.