Horror as plane 'falls apart' on the inside mid-air

Passengers heard "loud bang" as American Airlines jet was torn apart

passenger plane tears open mid air

An American Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing after part of the plane tore open mid-air.

Passengers said they heard a "loud bang" and the Boeing 757 started to tear apart at the seam, exposing the aircraft's insulation.

The flight from San Francisco to Dallas turned around an hour into the flight on Monday because of a possible blown air duct, American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller told News.com.au.

One of the passengers, James Wilson, from Texas, said people started screaming as they saw the cracks.

Speaking to AP, the 32-year-old amateur racing car driver said: "It was the whole Row 14 on all sides, from the floor to the ceiling. It sounded like it was popping and banging so loud at first I thought stuff was coming out of the overhead compartments."

He added that flight attendants were "pulling the panels apart and looking for daylight behind there."

Wilson posted a photo of the interior panels of the aircraft pulled apart from the walls and posted it on Facebook.

The captain announced that the flight would continue to Dallas because the pressure was stable but then decided to make the emergency landing after seeing the damaged panels for himself, Wilson said.

Robert Ditchey, an aeronautical engineer, said that the cabin walls are not part of the plane's structure: "The plastic wall has no meaning to the safety of the plane. They are there so you don't have to look at the bare walls."

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said they would work to determine the problem and correct it before it flies again.

15 flights from hell

15 flights from hell

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