DALLAS FORT WORTH AIRPORT A Spirit Airlines flight initially heading from North Texas to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Tuesday afternoon experienced an "emergency situation" shortly after takeoff and had to turn back.
A spokesperson for Spirit said the captain described a "normal landing" after receiving "indication of a possible mechanical issue," adding the customers "safely deplaned," but some passengers described a much more harrowing experience, CBS station KTVT-TV in Dallas reports.
A text message correspondence between passenger Casey Rogers, who was on the plane, and his wife Ashlee, who was on the ground, showed the fear many passengers felt. Part of one message read, "...I love you make sure my kids know that forever. We have a problem I [sic] the plane it's full of smoke [sic] the engine has stop and te [sic] whole plane is shaking ... I love you don't forget it!! Pray for me."
After a series of frightened back-and-forth messages the passenger sent a text that said, "We are trying to land now." Another text, minutes later said, "We are down we are ok..."
Rogers later elaborated on his experience in a phone call with KTVT.
"I saw the engine blow up on the outside of the plane, fire and all that," Rogers said. "I'm thinking to myself, I see this on the movies. I'm usually on my couch eating popcorn. This never happened to me. And here I am 25,000 feet above the ground and this is happening to me."
Rogers said the crew was professional and handled the situation well.
Spirit officials initially said after the indication of a mechanical issue, the pilots simply followed procedure and returned to Dallas-Fort Worth airport as a safety precaution.
Later, officials confirmed smoke had filled the cabin and that "one engine was shut down which is normal procedure and this plane can operate on one engine."
There were no known injuries. Passengers were later put on a separate plane to Atlanta. The cause of the incident is not yet known.
An NTSB official confirmed to CBS News that, despite the government shutdown that has forced much of its staff to be furloughed, the Board will investigate the Spirit Flight 165 incident.
"We are activating some investigators", the official said.