Passengers were ‘prepared to die’ as flight tried to land during storm

Passengers on a Southwest Airlines flight from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to New Orleans Saturday prepared for the worst as the plane attempted to land in a storm.

The experience was so scary, people were screaming, crying and preparing to die as the pilot flew the plane through severe thunder and lightning, WWL-TV reports.

“We came through the clouds and the plane was just tilting back and forth. It was going all over the place,” passenger Lauren Bale, who works for WWL-TV, said of the harrowing experience.

“It felt like I was about to lift off. I felt like I was done. I felt like I was about to see baby Jesus and Papa God,” another passenger, Marie Wary, told the station.

After a failed attempt to land at its destination, the plane rerouted to Panama City, Fla., to wait out the storm. “You couldn’t see anything. No visibility,” passenger Sharon Bikoundou told WWL-TV of one attempted landing. “Right as he was about to land he pulled back up.”

The plane eventually arrived safely in New Orleans about four hours behind schedule, but some passengers questioned why the plane ever attempted the scary landing in the first place.

Bale posted several updates on Twitter, saying it was the “most terrifying experience” of her life. “The flight attendants were yelling over the speakers to fasten seat belts as tightly as possible and I was texting my family goodbye. I just don’t understand why @SouthwestAir put everyone in that situation,” Bale tweeted.

“This was all 100 [percent] preventable but @SouthwestAir took a huge risk and I honestly feel lucky to be alive,” she wrote after the plane had landed in Panama City.

A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines released the following statement to Fox News: “Our top focus is Safety. Flight 3461 from Fort Lauderdale to New Orleans arrived about four hours behind schedule after persistent thunderstorms over New Orleans forced prolonged holding near New Orleans awaiting clearance from air traffic controllers followed by a refueling stop in Panama City before the completion of the journey. The Safety of our Customers and Employees as well as the safe operation of every flight is our highest priority.”

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