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Passenger's Twitpics show hole in Southwest plane

A Southwest Airlines flight makes an emergency landing after a hole appears in its ceiling. One passenger, the wife of a pilot, takes pictures and posts them to Twitter to show the real time scene.

It's bad enough when your plane is struck by lightning. But I'm not sure how I would react if a hole suddenly appeared in the ceiling of the 737 I was on.

I'm not sure my first instinct would be to take a picture. On the other hand, I'm not Shawna Malvini Redden.

Yesterday, Malvini Redden was on a Southwest flight from Phoenix to Sacramento when there was something of an explosion. Then, lo and behold, there appeared a three-foot hole on high. Yes, the plane had developed a skylight, sans glass.

Malvini Redden describes the situation in words on her blog, The Blue Muse.

Shawna Malvini Redden/Twitpic

She describes the shrieking and tears of others. She holds her seat mate's hand "in a death grip." And yet, as the plane rapidly descends from 36,000 feet to 11,000, Malvini Redden still has time to take a few pictures, which she then posts to her Twitter account.

Fortunately for those who enjoy seeing a record of such things, Malvini Redden's husband is an aviation pilot. So, as she described it, she was "85 percent sure" that she might still be alive, as the plane dipped for an emergency landing in Yuma, Ariz. She turned her cell phone on at 10,000 feet and texted her husband.

"How do you convey, 'I might die in a few minutes and I love you so much my heart aches at the thought of never seeing you again' without freaking someone the hell out? I'll let you know if I figure it out." she wrote on her blog.

Shawna Malvini Redden/Twitpic

And yet her Twitpics manage to convey much of what happens on such a perilous flight. The hole in the ceiling seems so ridiculously scary that you wonder how she managed to keep her hands even vaguely steady. The Twitpic of a slightly surreal calm, but with oxygen masks lowered, is also cheerily eerie.

Astoundingly, while she was still on the plane, she communicated with CNN and told it to feel free to use her tweets and Twitpics.

There currently seems to be no definitive information as to what caused the gash to appear. And no one appears to have been hurt in the emergency landing.

Malvini Redden has already tweeted she will be flying again Wednesday. Southwest, perhaps?