Southwest Flight Forced to Make Emergency Landing

VIDEO: Terrified Passengers Speak Out About Emergency LandingPlayABCNews.com
WATCH Terrified Passengers Speak Out About Emergency Landing

A Southwest Airlines flight from New Orleans to Orlando, Florida, was forced to make an emergency landing today in Pensacola, Florida, due to a "mechanical issue."

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Photographs taken by passengers showed a large piece of one of the engines missing.

"We heard a loud boom at about 10,000 feet. Sounded like a 18 wheeler tire blowing and we started smelling smoke," passenger Stephanie Miller said.

Flight data showed that the plane descended from an altitude of 30,000 feet to 10,000 feet in just over eight minutes.

A spokesperson from the airline told ABC News that the plane, SW Flight 3472, suffered a "mechanical issue with the number one engine."

PHOTO: Stephanie posted this photo to Twitter on Aug. 27, 2016: @10TV southwest plane from New Orleans to Orlandos engine blew in the sky. This was my dads bosss picture he got. Twitter/Stephanie
Stephanie posted this photo to Twitter on Aug. 27, 2016: "@10TV southwest plane from New Orleans to Orlando's engine blew in the sky. This was my dads boss's picture he got."

The pilot radioed to air traffic control that the plane had experienced an engine failure, and the flight was diverted, according to the airline, which noted that none of the 99 passengers or five crew members on board were injured.

According to a statement from Southwest, an "operational event" of this nature can sometimes trigger an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to establish what went wrong.

The aircraft is out of service, the airline noted, and the passengers will be taken to Orlando as soon as possible.