Southwest flight to Phoenix diverted to Yuma

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By Natalie Flanzer By Natalie Flanzer
By Natalie Flanzer By Natalie Flanzer

YUMA -- Passengers onboard a Southwest Airlines flight from Phoenix to Sacramento, Calif. describe a terrifying experience after the plane plunged more than 20,000 feet in a matter of minutes, and landed with a large hole in the top of the fuselage.

The National Transporation Safety Board says an "in-flight fuselage rupture" forced the emergency landing.

A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration in Los Angeles says Flight 812 landed safely at Yuma Marine Corps Air Station/International Airport at 4:07 p.m. Friday.

Passengers describe hearing a bang, and then say oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling.

Passenger Shawna Malvini Redden tweeted from onboard: "Hands down the scariest experience of my life."

Redden says she texted her husband "I love you," from the sky.

Another passenger, Brenda Reese told Sacramento station KCRA "It was pretty scary, there were people passing out because their oyxgen wasn't working."

Reese said she could see the blue sky from the large hole in the top of the plane.

Of the 118 people aboard the flight, Southwest says one flight attendant was treated for minor injuries.

Gregor says an FAA inspector from Phoenix was en route to Yuma on Friday evening.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.