Harrowing Video Captures Moment Engine of Southwest Airlines Ripping Apart During Takeoff from Denver [WATCH]

The aircraft returned to Denver a mere 25 minutes later, landing at 8:14 a.m. and then being towed to the gate.

Passengers aboard a Southwest Airlines flight bound for Houston watched in horror on Sunday as one of the engines on the Boeing 737-800 appeared to come apart mid-flight. The aircraft quickly returned to Denver after crew members spotted a removable metal covering on one of the engines detached during takeoff.

A chilling video shared by ABC's chief transportation reporter Sam Sweeney on X shows the metal engine cover whipping in the wind like paper as it tore loose. The Federal Aviation Administration said in a press release that a part of the aircraft known as an engine cowling got detached and struck one of the plane's wing flaps during mid-flight.

Encounter With Death

Southwest Airlines engine
The engine of Southwest Airlines seen ripping off moments after takeoff from Denver X

This came to light after a passenger aboard flight 3695 shared a video with a US media outlet. The footage allegedly showed the engine cover tearing off, with the cover striking the aircraft's wing flap as it took off.

According to ABC News, a passenger on the plane described the ordeal as "frightening."

The passenger reportedly said, "People in the exit row across from me started yelling at the flight attendants and showing them the damage. We turned around and made a full-speed landing. The pilots did a great job on the landing."

A spokesperson from Southwest Airlines, contacted via email by The New York Post, said that the incident was caused by a "mechanical issue." A spokesperson from Southwest Airlines told the outlet that Southwest Flight 3695 returned to Denver International Airport this morning and landed safely due to a mechanical issue.

They further added that the affected passengers would reach Houston Hobby on another aircraft, with an approximate delay of three hours.

"We apologize for the inconvenience of their delay, but place our highest priority on ultimate Safety for our Customers and Employees. Our Maintenance teams are reviewing the aircraft."

Another Boeing Mishap Avoided

student Makhzoomi forced out of southwest airlines
Southwest Airlines Reuters

The aircraft took off from Denver International Airport at around 7:49 a.m. local time, en route to William P. Hobby Airport in Houston. The aircraft returned to Denver a mere 25 minutes later, landing at 8:14 a.m. and then being towed to the gate.

The FAA is presently conducting an investigation into the incident.

This incident is not an isolated occurrence involving mishaps with Boeing aircraft. In January of this year, an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft experienced an emergency landing in Portland after its door panel blew off mid-flight.

In another similar incident, a Boeing 737 was forced to make an emergency landing in Houston, Texas, on March 4, following an engine fire shortly after takeoff.