Sudden decompression of an aircraft will cause a vacuum effect, and that is exactly what happened to one of the passengers onboard the Southwest Airlines flight that had to make an emergency landing this morning.
She was seated by the window that shrapnel from a blown engine crashed into in mid-air and was sucked halfway out of the aircraft. According to passenger Eric Zilbert, the upper half of her body up to her waist was outside the airplane at 30,000 feet traveling at the speed of 500 miles per hour when quick-thinking fellow travelers pulled her back in.
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Alfred Tumlinson, a passenger on Southwest flight #1380 from New York to Dallas said a man in a cowboy hat rushed ahead a few rows to grab the woman but could not pull her in alone until another man helped to get her fully back into the airplane. She was badly injured. The man in the cowboy hat was later seen deplaning with a bandage around one arm.
The woman was seated on the left-hand side of the aircraft, and she was hanging out of the window for several minutes, according to the passenger who was sitting next to her.
After she was pulled back in, a nursed answered the call for help and began to perform CPR on the woman. She is the one passenger that died on that flight.
Passengers applauded the pilot after landing. One passenger said the plane dropped for a few seconds and then the pilot kept the aircraft steady as a rock until touchdown.