Thomas Cook passengers were told they were ‘lucky to be alive’ after their plane’s engine exploded during take-off.
The flight from Holguin airport, in Cuba, to Manchester, had to be aborted just before taking to the skies on November 27.
Passenger Brian Kennedy, from Chorley, Lancashire, said: “You saw the engine exploding, then the plane went down suddenly, and the engine was on fire, with sparks flying down towards the back of the plane.
He said the aircraft had been ‘jerking around’ prior to take-off and there was a loud band and flash when the engine exploded.
Joseph Farnhill, who was also on board, said they had a close call and also described seeing smoke.
The 64-year-old, from Darwen, Lancashire, added: “We’re lucky to be alive, if it had happened any later, there would have been an explosion, we would have all been killed.”
The pilot was also apparently shaken by the incident after he hit the brakes and the plane skidded, according to Gareth Swan, 41, who was travelling with his wife.
He said: “As he came back on, you could hear that he was verbally shaken to the point where his voice cracked and he sounded like he was going to burst into tears.
“At that point, I realised it was very serious.”
He added a member of the cabin crew was ‘crying’ and staff had told passengers they were ‘lucky to still be alive’.