Southwest flight survivors recover in NC home, recall prayer and panic after explosion

Southwest flight survivors recover in NC home, recall prayer and panic after explosion
(Facebook screenshot/Amanda Bourman)

NORTH CAROLINA (Mark Price/Charlotte Observer) - A couple with ties to North Carolina was on that ill-fated Southwestern flight when an engine exploded Tuesday, nearly sucking one woman out of the plane.

Amanda Bourman tells People magazine that she was seated toward the rear of the plane next to her husband, Timothy, and had drifted off to sleep when the explosion on Flight 1380 sent debris flying through the cabin.

The Bourmans live in Queens, New York, but told the magazine they were recuperating from the incident at a second home in North Carolina. The plane made an emergency landing in Philadelphia, where seven people were treated for injuries and one died, Reuters reports.

Witnesses say passengers immediately began screaming in panic after the explosion sent pieces of the plane flying into the aircraft's fuselage. One passenger, Jennifer Riordan, died during those moments, according to CBS.

"My stomach was all in knots," said Bourman, a mother of three. "You right away think that you're not going to survive when an engine goes out," she told People. "The plane started going back and forth as the pilot was trying to gain control of the plane again. I put my mask on and my husband and I right away grabbed on to each other and started praying."

A piece of shrapnel from the explosion blew out a window, and a female passenger was partially sucked out of the gaping hole, sending her fellow fliers scrambling to her rescue, reported the New York Post.

Marty Martinez, who was aboard the flight, posted on Facebook that flight attendants called for people to help cover the hole as passengers "broke down and began uncontrollably crying and looking horrified." The plane dropped dramatically and it smelled like fire with ash coming down on everyone thru the vents, he added.

Bourman, 37, told People she held on to her husband, a pastor, and the two prayed together to ask for the safety of everyone aboard. Bourman told the magazine she also sent one message to her three daughters — ages 6, 4 and 2 — who were staying with her father-in-law in San Antonio. "We texted my father-in-law and told them that we loved them, and that Jesus loved them, just in case they never saw us again," she told People.

It was during this time that one woman on the plane had a heart attack, and other passengers tried performing CPR to revive her. Other passengers made efforts to cover the blown out window, media outlets report.

"Right when we were about to land, the stewardess kept shouting, 'Brace for impact! Brace for impact!'," Bourman told People. "It feels surreal. We've seen things like this in the movies or TV shows, but when you're experiencing it, it doesn't seem real."