American Airlines passengers witness walls split apart

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An American Airlines jet had to make an emergency landing at SFO after passengers reported the walls of the plane were coming apart.

An American Airlines jet bound for Dallas made an emergency landing at San Francisco International Airport on Monday because the cabin's wall started to crack open after takeoff.

There were 184 passengers on board the flight at the time of the incident. Many said they feared the worst. A passenger caught a photo of the walls of the plane coming apart near the windows.

"All of the sudden we heard this loud pop, pop, pop, pop, pop really loud and a ripping sound," passenger James Wilson told KGO-TV.

Wilson heard the sounds just seconds after takeoff and thought the plane was breaking in two. He took a photo after part of the cabin wall on the sides and ceiling split apart near rows 14 and 15. You can even see exposed insulation near the window.

"It was terrifying; we didn't know what was going on. We were all shouting for the flight crew, 'Come, look, the walls are caving in!" Wilson said.

Flight attendants looked at the bucked walls and asked passengers if they could see cracks in the plane.

"They kept asking. To the gal sitting in front of me, I said, 'Look in there, do you see daylight?'" Wilson said.

After 45 minutes, the captain declared an emergency and told passengers he was returning to San Francisco.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the bizarre incident and it wants to know what caused the walls of the plane to buckle during takeoff.

Airline officials say the issue had nothing to do with the pressure, instead it's a problem with the air ducts inside the plane.

The American Airlines Boeing 757 was towed to a maintenance hangar at SFO after making the emergency landing. No injuries were reported.

KGO-TV contributed to this report

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travelamerican airlinesemergency landingflight emergencyNorthern California
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