The plane was en route to Dallas from New Yorks LaGuardia Airport but diverted to Philadelphia International Airport during the incident at around 11am local time this morning.

Mr Sumwalt confirmed this is the first passenger fatality on a US airline since 2009.

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said seven others aboard the aircraft were treated for minor injuries.

A passenger posted this photograph of the failed engine to Twitter (Image: Twitter/Joe Marcus)

Television images showed most of the outer casing around the left engine of the Boeing Co 737-700 had ripped away and a window near the engine on the planes left side was missing.

In a phone interview with CNN, passenger Marty Martinez said a window exploded mid-flight, causing a woman serious injuries.

Mr Martinez said: The injured womans arms and body were sucked toward the opening in the plane.

Objects flew out the hole where the window had been, and passengers right next to her were holding onto her.

And meanwhile, there was blood all over this mans hands. He was tending to her.

We could feel the air from the outside coming in, and then we had smoke kind of coming in the window.

Meanwhile, you have passengers that were in that aisle, trying to attend to the woman that was bleeding from the window explosion.

That was just chaos all around.

FlightRadar24 posted this breakdown of the flight(Image: Twitter/@flightradar24)...