David Watterson was dozing off during a flight when he says he heard what sounded like a “mini explosion.”
When the Logansport resident looked out his window, he noticed a panel on the wing was missing.
The Logansport resident was one of 179 passengers on the Delta Flight 2412 that lost part of its wing Sunday. The Delta Air Lines 757 — traveling from Orlando, Fla., to Atlanta — lost part of its wing mid-flight in Atlanta.
Flight officials had just announced the plane was in its initial decent, Watterson said.
“The plane didn’t shudder or change its course,” Watterson said. He then pushed his call button to alert the flight attendant something had happened. An official with the flight was then escorted to the window to observe the missing panel.
The pilot announced there was a problem and that they were evaluating it and then said we would be landing in about 20 to 25 minutes, Watterson said.
“Anyone in front of the wing never saw it,” Watterson said. “If anything, it probably sounded to them like landing gear going down a lot louder than normal.”
The incident, involving the 4-foot-by-8-foot panel coming loose mid-flight, is under investigation by Delta Air Lines and the Federal Aviation Administration.
Delta Spokesman Anthony Black told Bloomberg News the pilot had declared an emergency prior to the landing.
Black also told NBC News that “The crew…followed procedure by declaring an emergency to air traffic control as they were landing, which game them priority clearance to land and alerted ground crews.”
“It’s remarkable how calm everyone was — no one panicked,” Watterson said. “Maybe if I stood up and yelled part of the wing came off it would have been different, but I didn’t think we were in immediate danger.”
The Delta flight crew were professional and stayed calm and helped everyone else on the plane stay calm, Watterson said.