Passenger on Southwest plane: "I feel really very fortunate"

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Passenger account from inside Southwest plane
Passenger account from inside Southwest plane. Walter Perez reports during Action News at 4pm on April 17, 2018.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Matt Tranchin was on his flight home from New York to his 8-month pregnant wife in Dallas when he saw an explosion ahead of him.

"Right around the time there was a huge explosion and glass shattering three rows ahead of me, that was about the moment that I realized this was not going to be a normal flight," Tranchin said.

Tranchin spoke to Action News hours after Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 made an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport Tuesday morning.

Passenger Matt Tranchin recalls emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport during Action News at Noon on April 17, 2018.

Chaos and confusion was felt throughout the plane, Tranchin said, followed by panic.

He believes an engine exploded and a shard shattered a window, injuring one of the passengers.

"Flight attendants rushed up. There was momentary chaos. Everyone kind of descended on where this hole was. As passengers we weren't sure if they were trying to cover up the hole, but the plane smelled like smoke. There was ash coming through the ventilation system. We started dropping," Tranchin said.

Tranchin said, given the circumstances, the flight crew did their best, but the situation was too much to handle for many.

"As kind of an indication of how terrifying it was, some of the crew couldn't hold back their horror. And some were crying as they looked out through the open window onto the engine," Tranchin said.

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Tranchin said passengers received internet access and texting capability as the situation progressed.

"I know I was with a colleague of mine and we spent the next 15 minutes before landing saying our goodbyes. You don't want to scare your friends and family, but you also don't want to not say goodbye," Tranchin said.

With a shattered window and a plane coming in for an emergency landing, Tranchin's thoughts were on his family and the baby boy on the way.

RAW VIDEO: Passengers exit after Southwest flight makes emergency landing on April 17, 2018.

Tranchin told Action News he was thinking, "That I'll never live to see my son born. That I'll never be able to say goodbye to my wife, say goodbye to parents. But I am. I am. I feel really very fortunate for that."

The plane landed in Philadelphia around 11 a.m.

RAW VIDEO: Southwest Airlines flight makes emergency landing on April 17, 2018.

For Tranchin, he says this is an experience that changes your life.

"You always see these things on the news, never think it's going to happen to you. All you can do now is reassess, reprioritize, and live life to the fullest. I plan to do that," he said.

As the passengers were being taken off the flight, Tranchin shot a few photos and was able to tweet a caption of relief, "If this ends up being the opening scene to Final Destination 13, I'm going to be really salty."

"I took those pictures as I was deplaning, which, by the way, is a verb I don't think anyone ever wants to use in the first person," Tranchin told Action News.

After experiencing fear, shock, and uncertainty, the father-to-be is ready to see his wife again and is hoping to find another way home soon.

"If anyone wants to start a GoFundMe to get Ubers and Lyfts to take us back to Dallas, that would be amazing," Tranchin said.


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