Southwest passenger: ‘Crying and screaming’ as plane makes emergency landing at DIA

DENVER (KDVR) — Julianna Donadio was on Southwest Airlines flight No. 225 going from Denver to Phoenix Monday night when the jet had to return to Denver International Airport, making an emergency landing after one of the tires failed at takeoff.

Southwest said the flight landed without incident, but Donadio said it was a frightening experience.

“When the flight attendants said we were going to have an emergency landing, we started to panic a little bit. People were definitely crying and screaming and trying to console one another,” Donadio said.

The Boulder resident was on her way to visit her mother in Phoenix. She said there was a loud noise during takeoff.

Photo courtesy Julianna Donadio

“We knew we blew a tire, but we didn’t know what the landing gear situation was,” she said. “They started preparing us for crash position, so having our head between our knees, and they were informing the emergency exit line how to open the doors and operate potentially the slides.”

She says the pilot and crew remained calm and she is very grateful to them.

“When we landed everyone was cheering and clapping,” she said.

According to FlightAware, the aircraft was a Boeing 737-700. Southwest says the aircraft has redundant hydraulic systems. While it appears one system might have been affected, the other remained operational.