Just before 11 a.m. close to 50 Lubbock passengers boarded a plane headed for Austin but they didn't make it too far. NewsChannel 11 spoke with one passenger, who says he knew something was wrong from the beginning.. He says it just sounded like trouble.
"It just lifted off and there was a loud bang and yellow flames and black smoke came out of the left engine. I was sitting right by the engine," says passenger, Chris Freeman. When Freeman hopped on a plane for Austin Thursday morning he had no idea what he was in for. At 11:20 his plane took off, seconds later the pilot was already making plans to return.
Chris says he can only assume what went wrong. "They think it might have been one of the front tires, the nose tire that might of exploded," he says.
By 11:45 the Southwest Airlines jet made an emergency landing. Chris says it was scary but nobody panicked.. "The flight attendants did a good job of letting us know what was going on."
Hours later, crews were still trying to assess the problem. The flight's passengers were rebooked on different flights. As for Chris, he's headed for the nearest car. "I chose to drive home."
Southwest Airline officials say they discovered it was a mechanical problem. Airport Director, Mark Earl says he's very happy with the way the situation was handled.