Alaska Airlines engine cover ripped off during an emergency landing

It started with an “unusual vibration” on the left side of a busy US commercial airliner and ended with the plane’s engine cover ripping off during an emergency landing.

Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to San Diego, with 176 passengers and six crew members, was forced to turn back yesterday because its engine hood had broken.

A dramatic video posted on social media, purportedly from the plane, showed a large piece of canopy shaking wildly during flight and then ripping off completely on landing.

A passenger films the broken engine hood on the Alaska Airlines plane.
The engine hood of the Alaska Airlines plane, a Boeing 737-900ER, came loose after takeoff and completely broke off during an emergency landing. (Instagram / Aviation Guayaquil)

Other photos posted on Twitter showed the plane’s damaged and exposed engine, when it was finally parked on the tarmac.

“Crazy crazy. I was on this flight,” wrote Jacqueline Stonas.

In a statement, Alaska Airlines said the crew aboard Flight 558 had reported “unusual vibration” in the aircraft shortly after takeoff.

The plane returned to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and landed safely, but “part of the metal panel that covers the engine, called the hood, fell off the plane when it landed,” the airline said.

The Boeing 737-900ER is on the ground while engineers investigate the incident.

Pilots and flight attendants handled the incident and landing with “tremendous professionalism and care,” the airline said.

“We also greatly appreciate the patience of our guests during this event.”

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