keskiviikko 18. huhtikuuta 2018

Ragan.com: Southwest shares grief after fatal plane malfunction

It was the first domestic airline fatality in 10 years.

The flight with 149 passengers was headed from New York to Dallas when it was diverted for an emergency landing in Philadelphia after an engine malfunction damaged the plane, injuring several passengers and almost sucking one woman out of the plane. She died after passengers attempted to revive her.

NBC reported:

As a Southwest Airlines jet hurtled 32,000 feet over suburban Philadelphia, a rare engine explosion caused a passenger’s window to burst, partially pulling the woman sitting next to the opening out of the plane.

Fellow passengers frantically worked to yank her back inside the airliner as it depressurized and quickly descended thousands of feet per minute, according to several passengers.

The frightening ordeal played out Tuesday morning onboard Southwest flight 1380 as it headed for Dallas. The Boeing 737-700 was about 20 minutes into its journey from New York’s LaGuardia Airport when the engine failure occurred. The plane, carrying 144 passengers and five crew, diverted to Philadelphia International Airport where it made an emergency landing at 11:20 a.m.

The airline shared little information immediately after the accident, as it tried to get all the facts straight before making a public statement. Many reports didn’t know the name of the heroic pilot who landed with damaged aircraft without further incident.

Southwest tweeted:

Later, Southwest expressed grief over the loss of the passenger.

Southwest also promised to move inspections forward on all its aircraft to ensure safety and avoid future tragedies.

Reuters reported:

Southwest said it was accelerating its existing engine inspection programme and conducting ultrasonic inspections of fan blades of the CFM56 engines on all of its the 737 jets.

The airline said it expects to complete the inspections within 30 days. Minimal flight disruptions may result, it said.

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The investigation into the breakdown is expected to last 12 to 15 months. For now, Southwest might have to do damage control, as some assert it should already have identified the engine flaw.

Reuters continued:

In August 2016, a Southwest flight made a safe emergency landing in Pensacola, Florida after a fan blade separated from the same type of engine and debris ripped a hole above the left wing. That incident prompted the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to propose last year that similar fan blades undergo ultrasonic inspections and be replaced if they failed.

Public response

Many praised the pilot and other crew members for showing “nerves of steel” and landing the aircraft without further incident.

CNN reported:

Kathy Farnan, a passenger, said that the crew knew what they were doing and kept everyone calm.

"The pilot was a veteran of the Navy," Farnan told CNN. "She had 32 years in -- a woman. And she was very good."

When it was all over, the pilot came out of the cabin and hugged everyone, telling them, "You all did a great job. You did a very good job," said passenger Amy Serafini.

They not only praised her technical skills, but her professionalism after they landed.

Passengers told CNN affiliate WPVI that she walked through the aisle and talked with passengers to make sure they were all right.

Passengers shared photos of the damaged plane:

Others congratulated the pilot:

Passenger Diana McBride Self shared her admiration of the crew on Facebook , writing: “A huge thank you to the Southwest Crew & Pilot Tammie Jo Shults for their knowledge and bravery under these circumstances. God bless each one of them.”

Other passengers captured the harrowing moments of the planes in videos later circulated by traditional media outlets.

The accident comes as many are taking a closer look at airline safety, especially with budget carriers that lower their overhead to maximize profits. A “60 Minutes” report took Allegiant Air to task over its history of midflight breakdowns and emergency landings, a narrative that the airline has vehemently rejected.

For now, Southwest is keeping its statements concise, opting to let the investigators do their job.

CNN reported:

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said the plane was inspected Sunday, but he had no details on what parts were examined. "I'm not aware of any issues with the airplane or any issues with the engine involved," he said.

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