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South Dakota woman speaks out about being aboard engine failure flight

Published: Feb. 21, 2021 at 9:29 PM CST
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DENVER, Colo. (Dakota News Now) - A South Dakota woman is speaking out about her experience aboard United Flight 328.

The aircraft in which officials are saying had engine failure about 20 minutes after takeoff, leaving debris scattered throughout the Denver area.

Megan Hazelrigg of Mitchell was on her way to Hawaii for a family vacation when the airplane’s engine started on fire and the plane returned to the Denver International Airport.

Hazelrigg was about 20 minutes into her flight from Denver to Honolulu when she heard something.

“All of a sudden there was this huge bang sound, and then the pilot stopped talking and the flight attendants were kind of looking around and then the plane started violently shaking,” Hazelrigg said.

Hazelrigg says she was seated in the middle section of the plane and didn’t know what was happening at the moment.

“The lady that was sitting in the aisle next to me, her husband looked at her and she was like ‘what’s going on?’ She tried to look out the window, and he put his body in front of the window so she couldn’t look out and he said, ‘it’s not good,’” she added.

At that moment, although still not seeing what was happening, she got nervous.

“There’s a man that’s not letting his wife look out the window because we heard a loud bang, and now we’re having technical difficulties, and the plane’s shaking, and we’re being told we’re turning around to land back at the international airport. Something is very wrong.” Hazelrigg continued. “I was freaking out, I was shaking, I was getting sweaty, I was like oh my gosh I’m going to throw up, I don’t know what’s going on. This is anxiety at my highest. If I would’ve seen it, I probably would’ve had some sort of panic attack, and also bawled my eyes out.”

Hazelrigg said the plane took about 20 minutes to land, and even when the plane finally landed successfully, surrounded by emergency vehicles, she still didn’t have clarity.

“The pilot comes back on and says, ‘hey we’ve landed, we’re not going to be able to take the plane any closer to the airport because it’s still smoldering.’ We had not known that it was on fire,” said Hazelrigg.

Hazelrigg said once on the ground, passengers stayed in the plane for about an hour before being able to exit. Where she said they were greeted by around 100 first responders.

After departing the plane, Hazelrigg and her family looked up statistics of how often something like this happens. She added they had a few laughs about the situation, now that everyone was safe, and ultimately decided the chances were low it would happen again on their next flight. She and her family are now enjoying their vacation in Hawaii.

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