CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team has uncovered more about terrifying moments as passengers onboard a plane at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport heard loud bangs and said they saw flames in an engine just before they went into the air.
On Saturday, we revealed an incident with SkyWest flight 3952.
The plane ended up returning to the gate. Now, the airline and the Federal Aviation Administration are both investigating, and passengers are speaking out.
“As [the pilot] starts to give more power to the engines to take off, there’s a very large bang. You can see a couple of flames shoot out the back of the engine. It was two large flashes. You could smell there was something going on,” said one man.
Another said, “I heard a bang. And then there was another bang, and then that’s when I saw the flash of a fire.”
SkyWest 3952 had been operating as Delta Connection.
After those bangs, passengers spoke up about what they’d seen earlier with the ground crew.
“The ground crew was unhooking one of the hoses from the machinery outside. The end got caught in the suction from the engine. It got sucked in. I watched the ground crew wrestle to pull it out,” a passenger told us.
The other told us of his interaction with another passenger, saying, “I turned around and I said, ‘What do you mean?’ And the lady said, ‘Yeah, that yellow hose attached to that cart came up and got sucked into the engine, and I watched them pull it out.’”
The FAA tells the I-Team the crew reported a “foreign object” was sucked into the engine. After the problem with that engine was discovered, the plane did make its way back to the gate under its own power.
For this story, a SkyWest spokesman told us, “Our team is investigating, so we can understand what happened to prevent it from happening in the future. We did find damage within the engine. Safety is our top priority. We apologize to our customers.”
The SkyWest spokesman also said the airline did not find any evidence of fire. But, again, the passengers reported flashes as opposed to roiling flames.
Those passengers we spoke with are left wondering what if they had taken to the air?
“The fact it did happen when it did, I think, was some sort of intervention,” said one.
The other said, “So very thankful that it happened while we were on the ground.”
There’s no telling how long the investigation may take, but we will follow up as we learn of its findings.