Tampa residents speak out after a Silver Airways emergency landing in hopes of keeping others safe

Posted at 6:20 PM, Jun 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-28 18:20:37-04

A typical work day and simple tasks like sending messages is taking on a new meaning for Genevieve Williamson

"I'm just thankful that we are standing here today," said Williamson.

Williamson is still shaken after an emergency landing on a Silver Airways Flight back on June 4 of this year. 

"At that moment I said if we are going to go down this plane is going to break up to pieces," said Williamson.

The young mother of two was on board with her husband and a group of friends returning from Key West.

Sean Simonsen was sitting right next to Genevieve

"I think everyone on the plane thought we were crashing for sure," said Simonsen. "I could see some flames coming out of the window ."

The friends shared their ordeal with ABC Action News because both suspected trouble even before taking off. 

"I had two friends of mine booted off!" said Williamson."They also removed some of my luggage and someone outside the plane said we are still 24 pounds overweight."

Then after multiple inquiries, an e-mail from Silver Airways raised concern even more.

This line in particular was upsetting: "Following multiple inspections, we have found no indication of an engine fire."

"It surprised me I understand why they want to make a claim that there was not a fire but I can tell you I was sitting in the window with a direct view of that window and there was most definitely flames that was coming out of the back of that engine," said Simonsen.

Both took their concerns to the Federal Aviation Administration.

"I have not heard anything back," said Williamson. Simonsen had not either.

So we called. The FAA confirmed the agency is looking into the incident. We also found 46 incident inquiries into the airline since 2011.

The agency would not give us comparisons to other airlines or even delve into the exact nature of the incidents.

Silver Airways also responded to us. A spokesperson backed their findings but also reiterated safety is their top priority.

Williamson and Simonsen said they wanted to speak out to bring this to the forefront.

"We are so thankful that you (Action News) reached out and you got a response. Because now at least someone is digging deeper," said Williamson.

"I would like to know that Silver Airways is taking all the precautions they should be from a safety standpoint so this does not happen to other travelers in the future. Ultimately we are putting our lives in their hands and I just want to make sure people are safe," said Simonsen.

E-mail from Silver Airways:

Dear Valued Customer,
First, I deeply apologize for the unsettling experience you had on your flight on Sunday.
I can assure you that the safety of our customers and team members is our number one priority on each and every one of our flights.
While we are continuing to investigate the situation and the possible causes, following multiple inspections, we have found no indication of an engine fire.
I understand that this incident was a troubling and upsetting experience for you and interrupted your travels, and for this I apologize again. I can assure you that our crew members are trained, prepared and have practiced the proper safety and operational procedures should issues such as this arise.
I have asked our customer relations team to get in touch with you and provide you with a complimentary voucher for a future flight with us.
My most sincere apologies again. 
We look forward to welcoming you aboard another flight soon.
Warm regards,
Sami T. Teittinen
President & Chief Executive Officer
Silver Airways

E-mail response from Silver Airways to our inquiry:


Again, the safety of our customers and team members is our top priority on each and every flight.
We have found no indication of a possible engine fire.
There are times that airlines may not be permitted to carry a full passenger load due to weight restrictions.  These safety restrictions vary depending on weather, temperature, amount of bags, fuel load, etc.  As a result, at times we are forced to fly with fewer passengers and/or bags.  Again, this is in rare occasions necessary for the safety of all onboard.

Misty Pinson | Director of Communications