A National Transportation Safety Board official says a Spirit Airlines jet bound for Atlanta sustained an engine failure before safely returning to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
The official says it was an "uncontained" failure. That means broken pieces and parts of the engine escaped the outer engine housing, an unusual and especially serious occurrence.
The official spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly.
Aircraft engines are designed to contain any broken pieces within the engine during a failure.
Passengers aboard the Airbus A319 on Tuesday say they, lighting up the interior. They reported that smoke filled the cabin.
Passenger Casey Rogersin a phone call with CBS station KTVT in Dallas: "I saw the engine blow up on the outside of the plane, fire and all that. 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 spokeswoman Misty Pinson says no one on Flight 165 was injured.