Passenger recounts fiery flight from Ohio to Phoenix: ‘We’re not going to make this’

Apr 25, 2023, 9:28 AM | Updated: 11:54 am

(Youtube Short Screenshot/Marni Kallestad)...

(Youtube Short Screenshot/Marni Kallestad)

(Youtube Short Screenshot/Marni Kallestad)

PHOENIX — A passenger aboard a Phoenix-bound flight that was forced to turn around after a bird strike over the weekend said Monday she pulled out her cellphone camera so her family would know what happened if the plane went down.

Marni Kallestad was on American Airlines flight 1958, which departed from Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday morning.

Kallestad told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show the flight took off at 7:49 a.m. and she grabbed her phone to begin taking a recording at 7:57 a.m., shortly after noticing sparks coming from one of the plane’s engines.

“First, I heard these horrible noises and then I saw some sparks and then I saw these big flames and then I saw the flames coming and coming and I thought, ‘We’re not going to make this.’ I grabbed my cellphone and recorded the video because I was just hoping that I could get it to my parents so they could — and family — so they knew what happened to me,” Kallestad said.

“I wasn’t thinking that, ‘If the plane blows up, you’re not going to have this video,’ but as soon as we descended down far enough, I did text them and I sent them the video.”

She said that she and other travelers were terrified the plane could crash. Kallestad was traveling with the Phi Theta Kappa honors society at a convention in Ohio and many of her companions were younger than her.

“Two of the girls that were sitting next to me, they burst into tears. I’m a CPR instructor so I can kind of stay calm during emergency situations,” Kallestad said. “But when I saw those flames, I thought, ‘I’m never seeing my family again,’ and I panicked.”

She said the pilot of the flight remained calm, informing the passengers that he believed he saw a duck family and cited that as the cause of the issue.

“He did say that … he turned the engine off and that we were going to be going back with one engine and panic set in, people started screaming, people started crying,” Kallestad said.

But she said she’s glad the pilot was transparent.

“I grew from it. I didn’t know that planes could work on one engine … but many people did not want to get on the next plane,” she said.

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Passenger recounts fiery flight from Ohio to Phoenix: ‘We’re not going to make this’