'People were screaming': Plane suffers terrifying mid-flight engine damage

Passengers on a flight across the United States have been given a fright after the plane's engine appeared to partially fall apart while it was in the air.

US TV anchor Dan Ponce tweeted his aunt was on the flight, which was making its way from Las Vegas to Tampa, Florida.

An image accompanying his tweet shows a mess of jagged metal hanging off the plane's engine while it's still in the sky.

He said the plane was able to turn around and land safely, and all passengers were given a free breakfast voucher.

ABC reporter Brandon Rittiman said on Twitter his friend had been on the flight and passengers were incredibly distressed by the incident.

"The hatch came up and ripped off during take-off," Mr Rittiman said his friend told him.

"People were 'jumping up screaming, slamming on the roof. Yelling stop.'"

A spokesperson for the plane's owner Frontier Airlines, said the damaged metal was part of the plane's engine cover.

"Our pilots followed procedure and immediately returned to the airport,'' the spokesperson said in a statement sent to USA Today.

"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.''


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