Published: Fri, April 20, 2018
Finance | By Kristine Clayton

Southwest emergency landing puts focus on engine safety

Southwest emergency landing puts focus on engine safety

When Southwest Flight 1380 prepared for an emergency landing, one passenger, Marty Martinez, attempted to record a video message for his family that showed he and his fellow travelers did not properly secure their oxygen masks to their faces.

Philadelphia's medical examiner said the banking executive and mother of two from Albuquerque, New Mexico, died from blunt impact injuries to her head, neck and torso.

A National Transportation Safety Board investigator examines damage to the engine of the Southwest Airlines plane that made an emergency landing earlier this week after a midair catastrophe caused a window to blow out.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the "airworthiness directive" will require inspections of a large number of CFM56-7B engines. While the airline decided not to identify the pilot, saying only that the employee has years experience on the job, passengers posting on social media identified her as Tammie Jo Shults.

Sumwalt said they have not determined the age of the engine.

The fan blade in the plane's left engine broke off as the plane cruised normally, a result of gradually weakening metal, the NTSB said.

Sumwalt said he could not yet say if the incident, the first deadly passenger airline accident in the United States since 2009, pointed to a fleet-wide problem in the Boeing 737-700. The plane, which was headed from NY to Dallas, made an emergency landing in Philadelphia. "On behalf of the Southwest family, I want to extend my deepest sympathies for the family and the loved ones of our deceased customer", Kelly said.

The 56-year-old was in the cockpit of the Southwest Airlines jet when the engine blew up during the journey from NY to Dallas. (NYSE: GE) and France's Safran, had issued a service bulletin following the 2016 accident recommending that airlines conduct ultrasonic inspection of some fan blades and replace those that failed. Pieces of the plane were found in rural Pennsylvania by investigators who tracked them on radar.

That proposed directive has not been finalized in the eight months since it was proposed, according to a report in the Seattle Times.

The objections from Southwest and other airlines stem partly from the fact that carriers, while highly regulated, are not required to track each individual fan blade within an engine.

The plane went from an altitude of 31,684 feet to about 10,000 feet in a little more than five minutes, according to data from Flightradar24.com.

Shrapnel shattered a window, causing passenger Jennifer Riordan to be partially sucked out of the aircraft, ultimately killing her.

Despite her success in the corporate world, Jennifer Riordan remained the kind of woman who made her own greeting cards for important occasions, Marianne Riordan marveled. She says shortly after takeoff there was a loud noise and the plane started shaking like it was "coming apart".

The entire incident, he said, lasted 22 minutes. "I don't think there's a bad guy here", she said. During the incident, he logged on to the in-flight Wi-Fi to send messages to his family. She would reach out to you and you were immediately a friend and glad to know her - very, very grounded and positive.

"The accelerated inspections are being performed out of an abundance of caution and are expected to be completed over the next 30 days", according to a statement on Southwest's website. At least one bought in-flight WiFi as the jet descended so he could say goodbye to his loved ones.

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