Passengers on board an Orlando-bound flight in the US were left terrified when one of the planes engines failed whilst mid-air, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing. Southwest flight 3472 from New Orleans to Orlando suffered mechanical faults, prompting the pilot to divert the flight to Pensacola, according to reports on Sunday (28 August).

Eyewitnesses reported hearing an explosion and watched as large parts of the Boeing 737 plane fell apart. A passenger, who had been on the flight with her husband and their three children, told CNN affiliate Koco 5 that the plane was over water when she heard a "big explosion".

She described distressing scenes with passengers screaming as the plane began to shake. Passengers were advised by the crew to wear oxygen masks as the plane made a rapid descent.

"There was some smoke and then nothing. I saw parts flapping in the wind because it was right outside my window."

"I held my kids, and one was freaking out, crying. And so, we're trying to hold his hand and singing and praying a lot," she said. "It wasn't until after I got on the ground that I got emotional." She added that "it was thanks to the pilot that we're all alive".

The pilot steadied the plane before informing the passengers that one of the engines had been lost. The aircraft was safely landed at 9.40am, local time, on Sunday (28 August). None of the five crew members or 99 passengers were injured in the incident, reports, Sky News reports.

A spokesman for Southwest said the flight had experienced a "mechanical issue with the number one engine". The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident CNN confirmed. The airline added that the plane remains out of service.