Frontier Flight 260 took off for Tampa at 7:12 a.m. local time from Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport. Just a few minutes later, at 7:27 a.m., the flight, which was carrying 171 passengers and six crew members aboard, landed safely at the same airport. There were no injuries reported.
"Our pilots followed procedure and immediately returned to the airport," Frontier airlines spokesperson Allison Redmon said in a statement to USA Today Friday, explaining that a cowling, which covers an airplane engine, came loose from the plane during takeoff.
"The engine continued to operate normally, and the aircraft, an Airbus 320, landed safely. Safety is our top priority at Frontier Airlines, and we would like to acknowledge the professionalism of our pilots and flight attendants," she added.
CJ Gunnerson, a passenger on a plane, shared a photo of the engine cover with his friend Brandon Rittiman, a reporter with ABC10 in Sacramento, California, who then posted the photo to his Twitter feed Friday. The photo showed a green metal flap that had been partly detached from the plane's body, uncovering the engine.
— Brandon Rittiman (@BrandonRittiman) November 30, 2018
"So, my hockey buddy CJ Gunnerson took this pic out his window today. His @FlyFrontier flight had to make an emergency landing at Vegas. ‘The hatch came up and ripped off during take off,' he tells me. People were ‘jumping up screaming, slamming on the roof. Yelling stop,'" the Twitter caption states.
Stella Ponce, another passenger on the flight, told 10News she woke up to "a lot of screaming and yelling."
"Two women were crying, and people were pointing out the window," she told the outlet.
"I was shocked to see that much damage — I'm not an engineer," Ponce added. "I don't know what the outside of the plane is supposed to look like, but I was surprised to see that much; it looked scary."
According to Redmon, each passenger was given refund for their flight as well as a $500 voucher to use for a future Frontier flight.
Frontier Airlines did not immediately respond to Sputnik's request for comment.