Nightly News   |  October 16, 2013

Smoke fills cabin as Spirit Airlines engine explodes

A Spirit Airlines A-319 Airbus engine exploded in the air, terrifying passengers during a flight from Dallas to Atlanta. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> you may have awakened to news about what happened on a spirit airlines jet. an in-flight emergency on an airbus 319. it had some passengers thinking this was it, that their time had come. they said so to some of their loved ones on the ground. one of the two engines explode ed shortly after a takeoff from dfw. we get our report tonight from nbc's tom costello.

>> reporter: it happened as the spirit flight took the off a. smoke quickly filled the passenger cabin. kate castle was on board.

>> it started getting terrifying when the smoke came through, with the shaking and everything it added to it.

>> reporter: casey rogers post ohhed this account on facebook. the first explosion was big, he said. the plane shook very hard. my friend said, casey, this is not good for us. i said, i know. then i smelled an electrical fire and said, do you smell that. he said yes. then a huge explosion and fire traveled past our window. i looked at my friend and he said, casey, i think this is it. rogers then thought of his family and said, that's when i sent what i thought was my last text to my wife. it was so hard to text because the plane was shaking so bad you couldn't hit the buttons. the lady next to me was freaking out, he says. and others praying out loud, some crying, some praying in silence. fully, the plane landed safely in dallas. when ann en gin failure is uncontained the engine explodes potentially cutting into the fuselage. aif uh united nations analyst john cox via skype.

>> they can strike parts of the airplane and do collateral damage. this can cause handling issues and be challenging to the pilot uh. normally the pilots will be able to make a safe landing.

>> reporter: three years ago a qantas airline a-380 suffered an engine fire that nearly brought the plane down. the pilots landed in singapore. now the ntsb is investigating the close call over texas. tom costello, nbc news, washington.