Erin O’Donovan, the woman sitting next to Murfreesboro resident Steve Hall on Southwest Flight 2294, took this picture of a hole in the planes fuselage that forced an emergency landing Monday afternoon.
A routine business trip to Pittsburg took a turn for the worse for Steve Hall on Monday, when a football-sized hole opened in the fuselage of the Southwest Airlines flight he was on.
About 45 minutes into the flight from Nashville to Baltimore, the Murfreesboro resident heard a loud pop and wind rushing.
“It was a normal flight until this loud popping. We knew that it wasn’t a normal noise,” he said. Then the oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling as the cabin lost pressure.
And, like most airline passengers, he didn’t pay attention to the preflight instructions. But after flying between 20-30 times a year for work, he knew how to put the mask on.
“Fortunately, its one of those things that comes pretty natural,” he said.
Hall said the hole was above his seat and to the left, but all he could make out was a crack of sunlight peeking through, where no sun should shine.
The flight crew of five took control of the situation and helped the 126 passengers with their oxygen masks, Hall said.
He noted the passengers remained calm, but there was “a lot of nervous energy” in the cabin as the plane made an emergency landing in Charleston, W.Va.
After landing and a ceiling tile pressed against the hole fell away, he said he got a good look at the 1 foot-by-1-foot hole in the plane.
“I’m glad it wasn’t as tragic as it sounds,” Hall said.
Hall’s not letting this experience inspire a fear of flying either. In fact he flew back to Nashville this morning.
“I told my wife last night what are the odds of that happening again I’m not that lucky of a person,” he said with a laugh.
Michelle Willard can be contacted at 615-869-0816 or firstname.lastname@example.org.