ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) - Spirit Airlines flight 165 from Dallas en route to Atlanta suffered a mechanical failure when passengers said one of the engines exploded 20 minutes after take-off.
Fred Edwards said once he saw the flames outside the plane he texted his wife as fast as he could, "we're on fire, love you."
"We heard kind of a thud noise and then the plane started shaking quite a bit, but not real violently and then probably three or four minutes later this huge explosion," Fred Edwards said. "We saw the flames come up the side of the plane which lit up the whole inside of the plane and it looked like the whole inside of the plane was on fire."
Edwards and one of his co-workers, sitting next to him, Casey Rogers, said the smoke was so thick they could barely see in the cabin.
"Shortly after the big explosion went off and lit up the side of the airplane it (smoke) just poured in all the vents, on the side of the aircraft were pouring smoke full white smoke, and before you know it you couldn't see and that's when everyone got scared."
Rogers said he texted his wife to tell her he loved her and their three children.
"I figured I would text her and let her know I love her and let the kids know I love them too," Rogers said. "It was pretty traumatic, you know, there for a few minutes I thought it was pretty much over."
Rogers and Edwards were flying to Atlanta for a business trip. Once the plane diverted back to Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport they were transferred to another connecting flight to Atlanta. When they landed just after 9 p.m. Tuesday night, both men were exhausted and said they were thankful the plane didn't fall apart, and they survived.
A representative with Spirit Airlines sent CBS Atlanta this statement regarding the mechanical issue on the plane.
"A representative from the airline said flight 165 returned to Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport immediately after takeoff when the captain received an indication of a possible mechanical issue, along with smoke in the cabin. One engine was shut down, the plane landed safely at DFW and the passengers were put on another aircraft. Following procedure and as a safety precaution, the plane returned to DFW. It was a normal landing and customers safely deplaned. We had another plane taking customers to Atlanta," Misty Pinson said.
According to Spirit Airlines' website, flight 165 was scheduled to leave Dallas at 1:26 p.m. Tuesday and arrive in Atlanta at 4:27 p.m. The site list the actual departure at 6:05 p.m. and arrival in Atlanta at 9:11 p.m.