Trainer makes best of it after scary flight from DTW

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Romulus —  A personal trainer on a flight from Detroit Metropolitan Airport to Atlanta was getting ready to eat her meal when she noticed odd noises and shaking after takeoff. Then there was a loud bang.  

Kiah Douglas, 26, said she wasn't the only one panicking when Spirit Airlines Flight 569 had an engine malfunction and had to turn around on Sept. 18.

Kiah Douglas and "Officer Carl" work out together during Douglas' four-hour delay following engine issues on her Spirit Airlines flight.

"Everyone began looking around with concerned looks. We even asked the flight crew what the problem was and a lady responded, 'Everything is OK,'" Douglas said.

"The flight crew began pacing the plane back and forth, checking the overhead luggage and asking if any passengers heard or seen anything."

Minutes later, the pilot announced the second engine had failed and the plane would return to the airport within 15 minutes. 

"It was the longest 15 minutes of my life. Not knowing if death would be near," the Saginaw resident said. "We arrived shortly after the announcement, and I was beyond grateful."

Pieces of metal had fallen from the engine. As result, the Federal Aviation Administration is conducting an investigation, said Tony Molinaro, FAA spokesman for the Great Lakes region. As of Tuesday, the investigation is still ongoing and is expected to take weeks, he said.  

Back on the ground, Douglas said she channeled the adrenaline rush into making a workout video during the subsequent four-hour delay. During her 250 power-up challenge, an officer joined her for a brief workout.

"I definitely had a great time having Office Carl join me," said Douglas. "I have an outgoing personality so I knew someone would join me, but it did surprise me that he actually participated."

She said she made it to Atlanta at 1 a.m. Sept. 19. Her original destination time was 9:10 p.m. the day before.

Stephen Schuler, a spokesman for Spirit, confirmed Flight 569 returned to the gate shortly after takeoff after “a reported mechanical issue” and customers were placed on another plane to reach their destinations. Other details were not released.

“We are fully cooperating with the FAA investigation,” he wrote in an email.

Twitter: @SarahRahal_