More than a hundred passengers and crew members were forced to deplane a Southwest Airlines flight from New York City at Chicago’s Midway Airport after an unmanned luggage cart hit the side of the plane.
The cart hit the plane and then the jet bridge as Flight #163 from LaGuardia to Midway was pulling towards the gate Thursday evening, the airline said.
After the plane landed, passengers told NBC News they waited onboard for about 20 to 25 minutes before they were allowed to deplane. After the first five rows of passengers had gotten off the plane, the plane started to shake.
“The entire plane starts to violently shake, like something ran into the plane,” passenger Edward Messagle, of Mundelein, Illinois, told NBC News.
He said some people thought they might have been hit by another plane that was backing out.
“Everyone was screaming and the pilot told everyone to get down,” Messagle said.
He said the woman sitting next to him saw an unmanned baggage cart that seemed to be on fire run into the plane. Southwest could not confirm reports of a fire.
Messagle said the impact pulled the jet bridge away from the plane, and passengers had to stay onboard for another hour as officials investigated.
Once he got off the plane, Messagle saw the luggage cart and said he could tell it had been on fire, even though it wasn’t completely burnt.
“Part of the cart had gotten ripped off and it was laying there and there was broken glass,” he said.
All 143 passengers and five crew members deplaned using the air stairs, according to Southwest.
The plane was taken out of service for maintenance. No injuries were reported.