Passenger Marty Martinez of Dallas said all he could think about was that his future was being taken from him as an engine broke apart and exploded on Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 bound for Dallas and the jet began its descent.
Martinez, the CEO of a social media agency, recorded the event and posted his videos and photos on social media as the disaster was happening.
"The turbulence is going crazy," he told Star-Telegram media partner WFAA-TV. "People are crying and screaming. We just heard like a boom, and then within five seconds all the oxygen masks in the entire plane were deployed."
He saw a woman two rows ahead get injured in the blast.
"To see the other passengers hold her from physically flying out the window was ... was crazy.
“A man came from the very front of the plane, I think row seven,” Martinez said. “He put himself between her and the window, to stop the sucking, so everyone could help her.”
He said the woman was “limp” and unresponsive. She later died.
The Southwest jet headed for Dallas from New York made an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport after an engine broke up and exploded, killing one person and injuring several others. A preliminary examination of the blown engine showed evidence of "metal fatigue," according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
"Everybody was crying and upset," passenger Amanda Bourman told the AP. "You had a few passengers that were very strong, and they kept yelling to people, you know, 'It's OK! We're going to do this!'"
Matt Tranchin, a Dallas resident, thought he was going to die.
Tranchin said he called his wife on the plane phone and told her what to say about him to their unborn child, due in June.
"If this ends up being the opening scene to Final Destination 13, I'm going to be really salty," he quipped on Twitter.
Sharon Pelzel said waiting for her son Jason, 30, of Stamford, Conn., was agonizing.
He had to borrow a phone to text his mom, she said.
Jason was in the front of the plane and away from the mayhem. But he and his parents were certain he would be killed if the plane crashed, Pelzel said.
"Just before the landing he sent me his last text: We are almost there. Love you Mom," she said.
“No one wants to believe it’s going to be your last day," she added. "But that’s what we thought.”
When Jason sent another text about 30 minutes later from the airport, the relief was palpable, Sharon said.
“Even then, not until he was on a bus did a real sense of relief set in," she said.
Later, Martinez had a chance to reflect on the experience. "I couldn't help but think how my future was just being taken away from me," he said. "It was just a terrible, terrible experience."