Brendon Pelser said he saw pure terror in the faces of his fellow passengers after an engine fell from a wing as it took off from Cape Town, South Africa, Wednesday.
Men were sweating profusely, women were crying. "There was fear on their faces," Pelser said. "Everyone started panicking."
"We heard something crash and bang, the plane veering left and right. A person on the right side said the engine was missing -- had broken clean off," said Pelser.
But the pilot of Nationwide Airlines' Boeing 737 Flight CE723 was able to fly long enough to dump fuel and make an emergency landing at Cape Town International Airport.
Including crew, 100 hundred people were on the plane. No one was injured.
The jet had only been in the air about 10 minutes before the engine fell.
An object had been sucked into the engine as the nose wheel lifted from the ground and officials are trying to identify it.
The engine-to-wing supporting structure is designed to release an engine "when extreme forces are applied," to prevent structural damage to the wing, Nationwide said on its Web site.
The airline described the incident as a "catastrophic engine failure."
Tags: Engine | Fell | Plane | Boeing 737 | CE723