A Delta Air Lines flight was forced to make an emergency landing on June 8, 2019, due to engine failure mid-flight. The incident may not have made the news if not for the terrifying video footage taken by passengers on board the aircraft, showing one of the MD-88’s engines falling apart while the plane was in the air.
According to flight tracking website FlightRadar24.com, Delta Flight DL1425 took off from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) in Georgia 46 minutes later than scheduled, at 1:00 pm. The plane was headed for Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) in Maryland – a typical around 1.5 hour daily flight operated by Delta on its McDonnell Douglas MD-88 aircraft. But not this time.
About an hour into the flight, the flight crew reported a problem with one of the plane’s engines and proceeded to attempt an emergency landing. The aircraft, carrying 148 passengers on board, was diverted to Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) in North Carolina, where it landed safely at around 2:27 pm, ABC News reports.
In a statement to the news channel, Delta said the flight crew received “an indication of a possible issue with one of the aircraft’s engines,” which prompted the emergency landing. The airline has confirmed the plane landed without incident and apologized to affected customers, which were put on another flight and eventually reached Baltimore.
Dramatic video footage recorded by one of the passengers, through his seat’s window, soon spread on social media. The video shows the spinner bouncing inside the inlet of the airplane’s right engine; an orange glow can be seen at the center of the adjacent shaft where the spinner detached.
Video images show the spinner came loose or broke off it’s mounting wobbling in the airstream. The adjacent shaft is glowing orange by frictional heat. pic.twitter.com/uJi3D84V5u
— JACDEC (@JacdecNew) July 9, 2019
In a Twitter thread, one of the passengers said, “The experience was beyond scary”. According to him, smoke filled the back of the cabin and “intense” vibrations could be felt inside the cabin. Other passengers on board Flight DL1425 also reported hearing a loud “boom” and seeing smoke in the cabin. “After we heard the boom we just saw all this smoke come up into the cabin, and that’s when we really started freaking out,” another passenger told CNN affiliate WMAR.
The MD-88 in question (reg. N906DL) was delivered to Delta in 1987, making it an over 32-year-old plane, as planespotters.net data indicates. The Atlanta-based U.S. carrier still has a large number of McDonnell Douglas aircraft in its mainline fleet, operating the MD-88 and MD-90 variants. However, the airline is planning to phase out the MD-88s by the end of 2020 and the MD-90s by the end of 2022, replacing them with Airbus narrow-body aircraft, mainly the A220s and A320neo family jets, ch-aviation.com reported.