COLUMBIA - Panic, tears and frantic phone calls followed an announcement by the captain of SkyWest flight 5228 that something was wrong.
Passenger Charlie Fowler said the pilot announced: "We lost one of the engines."
"I don’t know what happened to it, but one of the engines was completely dead,” Fowler said.
He said people were "freaking out."
“I was looking out the window, which wasn't the best idea because the plane was shaking like crazy. The wings were shaking, the woman next to me kept holding my hand, no idea who she was,” he said.
Fowler said winds were very rough.
At one point we dipped really hard, which was not a lot of fun. Once the turbulence start happening, people started crying. The woman next to me texted her husband, ‘plane's not doing well, I love you’.”
Fowler said he was one row behind the exit row and saw the flight attendant approach.
"So, she came over and told the people in front of me that there was a strong possibility they would have to take the windows off and shove the door out and do the whole emergency landing thing,” he said.
The attendant walked down each aisle and made sure everyone knew how to get in brace position.
“At one point though, the flight attendant, who did a great job, sat down and strapped herself in and she yelled ‘brace, brace, brace. Heads down, stay down.’ She screamed that for five minutes until we landed and came to a complete stop," Fowler said.
The pilot tried to redirect to Peoria but apparently couldn't land there so had to reroute again to Bloomington, Fowler said.
“The landing was really rough, worse than I expected”
When the plane touched down, passengers burst into applause, Fowler said.
“Getting off the plane took a while because everyone was hugging the pilot and the flight attendant," he said.
Fowler said he's impressed with how the staff handled everything.
“Really happy to be on the ground, happy that our pilots knew what they were doing," he said.