Original Story via Ben Brumfield, CNN
(CNN) — Many wept. Some prayed. But after their smoke-filled plane rattled to an emergency landing, passengers had a new lease on life, as they exited a JetBlue flight Thursday via inflatable chutes.
“I’m just happy to be alive,” said passenger Jarrod West, who slid down holding his black Chihuahua. “I don’t think I’ll be mean to anybody ever again.”
Four people were injured in the incident; one was taken to hospital,CNN affiliate KCAL reported.
A loud pop initiated the brush with disaster, said West and other passengers who spoke with KCAL from the airport in Long Beach, California.
Flight 1416 had left Long Beach Airport about 15 minutes before and was over the ocean, carrying 147 passengers and crew headed for Austin, Texas.
Then the right engine “blew,” JetBlue told KCAL.
A signal alerted pilots that an engine was overheating, fire department spokesman Jake Heflin told KCAL. The pilots deployed extinguishers.
Thick smoke filled cabin
Actor Jackson Rathbone was on the flight with his wife and child. “Our right engine exploded and our cabin filled with smoke,” he posted to Twitter.
It grew so thick that passengers could no longer see the people seated next to them, said passenger Jonathon Hubbard.
West realized he would have a hard time breathing soon, but oxygen masks did not drop down, he said.
So, flight attendants went around deploying them by hand.
Fortunately, not far from its departure airport, the plane made a sharp turn back toward it, Rathbone said. The actor is known for his role as Jasper Hale in the “Twilight” movie series and stars in the TV series “Aim High.”
Tears as plane rattles
As it cruised back over land, the plane began to quake, and passengers broke into tears, afraid for their lives.
“Everyone was crying,” passenger Dean Delbaugh said. “I thought this was it.” His wife, seated next to him, clung to him.
Rathbone was also flying with his family.
“I recited the Lord’s Prayer as I held my son and my wife in my arms,” he posted to social media site whosay.
Then flight attendants prepared the passengers in the event of a hard landing.
“The flight attendants were yelling ‘brace, brace’ and they kept repeating it and repeating it on the top of their lungs,” West said.
Full story, including video coverage, here.
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