By: Diane Benjamin
The Pantagraph did this story about a flight from Columbia Mo. to Chicago made an emergency landing in Bloomington last night: https://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/public_safety/chicago-bound-regional-jet-makes-emergency-landing-in-bloomington/article_390f574d-ce47-5824-874c-ce4d6f1731f6.html#tracking-source=home-top-story-1
That story might make you think it was no big deal. Other media has a different story. Evidently the Pantagraph didn’t send a reporter to the airport to talk to the passengers. The story wasn’t the simple emergency landing they reported.
Passenger Charlie Fowler said the crew on board United Airlines flight 5228 went immediately into emergency mode.
“We practiced brace positions and the flight attendant, Andy, was yelling ‘head down stay down’ over and over again,” he said.
Fowler said the woman behind him was crying. Another woman called her husband to tell her she loved him.
This story has a video from a television station in Missouri who reported. They interviewed one of the passengers.
Written text of the incident:
COLUMBIA – Panic, tears and frantic phone calls followed an announcement by the captain of SkyWest flight 5228 that something was wrong.
Passenger Charlie Fowler said the pilot announced: “We lost one of the engines.”
“I don’t know what happened to it, but one of the engines was completely dead,” Fowler said.
He said people were “freaking out.”
“I was looking out the window, which wasn’t the best idea because the plane was shaking like crazy. The wings were shaking, the woman next to me kept holding my hand, no idea who she was,” he said.
Fowler said winds were very rough.
At one point we dipped really hard, which was not a lot of fun. Once the turbulence started happening, people started crying. The woman next to me texted her husband, ‘plane’s not doing well, I love you’.”
Fowler said he was one row behind the exit row and saw the flight attendant approach.
“So, she came over and told the people in front of me that there was a strong possibility they would have to take the windows off and shove the door out and do the whole emergency landing thing,” he said.
The attendant walked down each aisle and made sure everyone knew how to get in brace position.
“At one point though, the flight attendant, who did a great job, sat down and strapped herself in and she yelled ‘brace, brace, brace. Heads down, stay down.’ She screamed that for five minutes until we landed and came to a complete stop,” Fowler said.
The pilot tried to redirect to Peoria but apparently couldn’t land there so had to reroute again to Bloomington, Fowler said.
“The landing was really rough, worse than I expected”
When the plane touched down, passengers burst into applause, Fowler said.
“Getting off the plane took a while because everyone was hugging the pilot and the flight attendant,” he said.
Fowler said he’s impressed with how the staff handled everything.
“Really happy to be on the ground, happy that our pilots knew what they were doing,” he said.