Passenger dies after being partially sucked out of plane

Robyn Valdez
April 20, 2018

Federal investigators were still trying to determine how a window came out of the plane, killing the woman seated next to it who was wearing a seatbelt.

Southwest Flight 1380 passengers Andrew Needum and Tim McGinty tried to save Jennifer Riordan following a window explosion on the plane. Oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling and passengers said their prayers and braced for impact.

Over the next 20 minutes, the depressurized cabin air swirled with wind and debris, panic and prayers as the pilot rerouted the plane to Philadelphia for an emergency landing. 7 other passengers sustained minor injuries.

"The engines are the most closely monitored piece on the airplane", said John Goglia, a former NTSB board member.

Sumwalt said the fan blade, after suffering metal fatigue where it attached to the engine hub, has a second fracture about halfway along its length. Blades that fail inspection would need to be replaced.

It is unknown whether the FAA's original directive would have forced Southwest to quickly inspect the engine that blew up. The Federal Aviation Administration has not yet required airlines to conduct the inspections but said late Wednesday that it would do so in the next two weeks. The metal fatigue would not have been observable by looking at the engine from the outside, Sumwalt said. "That's going to be a big focal point for the NTSB - why didn't [the ring] do its job?"

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The two pilots of a Southwest Airlines plane that made an emergency landing in Philadelphia say their "hearts are heavy".

The Federal Aviation Administration's announcement late Wednesday comes almost a year after the engine's manufacturer recommended the additional inspections, and a month after European regulators ordered their airlines to do the work.

According to Boeing, the CFM56-7B engine is used on more than 8,000 Boeing 737 jet aircraft.

The entire incident, he said, lasted 22 minutes.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued an airworthiness directive last month requiring a one-time ultrasonic inspection of each affected fan blade on models of CFM56 engines within nine months of April 2.

Southwest spokeswoman Brandy King said on Thursday the comments "were to add further clarification on items included in the proposed AD". Investigators found a crack in the engine which may have led to blade breaking off.

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Southwest's voluntary, accelerated checks will be ultrasonic.

Any design issues with the long-established CFM56 engine could have repercussions for fleets worldwide. "I can't imagine what they're going through, but I'm thankful that my family is here".

Riordan's family also released a statement saying, "Jennifer Riordan has passed away as a result of previously reported events on Southwest Airlines flight 1380". Shults calmly radioed air traffic controllers in Philadelphia to discuss her approach.

"The pilot was a veteran of the Navy", Farnan told CNN. She also walked through the aisle and talked with passengers to ensure they were OK after the aircraft touched down.

"Passenger Alfred Tumlinson told the Associated Press: "[The pilot] has nerves of steel. You said there was a hole and somebody went out?

Whatever was going through her mind as she completed her landing, Tammie Jo Shults even made time to tell the control tower: "Thank you. thanks guys, for the help".

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Mr Sumwalt said part of the engine covering was found in Bernville, Pennsylvania, about 70 miles west of Philadelphia.

Other reports by Info About Network

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