Southwest Flight 1380 became a midair scene of chaos and terror

Jennifer Riordan

Last year, Southwest Airlines had opposed a recommendation by the engine manufacturer to require ultrasonic inspections of certain fan blades within 12 months, saying it needed more time to conduct the work.

US airline regulators said Wednesday they will order inspections on engine fan blades like the one that snapped off and triggered a fatal accident on a Southwest Airlines jet.

"The fan blade, it separated in two places", said Robert Sumwalt, Chairman of the NTSB.

Southwest says the 18-year-old Boeing 737 was inspected just three days before the accident. "A passenger later told me he pulled the woman who had gone out the window in and the top part of her body was out of the window".

"Those people. I'm sorry that they'll probably have images in their head that they'll never forget", she said, "but Jennifer would be the first to say your job is to keep living, and live well". The plane, which was headed from NY to Dallas, made an emergency landing in Philadelphia.

If there is a depressurisation above 10,000 feet, oxygen masks are deployed with enough supply for crew and passengers until the pilots fly the plane to a safe altitude.

Andrew Needum, a firefighter in Celina, Texas, talks to media who helped pull passenger Jennifer Riordan back into Southwest Airlines Flight 1380. "We nearly couldn't breathe", she said.

Needum on Thursday declined to detail his rescue efforts out of respect for Riordan's family. I feel for her two kids, her husband, the community that she lived in. "I'm going to send her a Christmas card, I'm going to tell you that, with a gift certificate for getting me on the ground".

Federal investigators were still trying to determine how a window came out of the plane.

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

They were developed by French-US joint venture CFM International, which says it is the "world's leading supplier of jet engines for single-aisle aircraft".

The Federal Aviation Administration will soon begin ordering USA airlines to inspect engine fan blades that have reached a certain number of takeoffs and landings. Blades that fail inspection would need to be replaced.

As the plane descended steeply but steadily toward Philadelphia, the cabin was noisy from the open window, but the passengers were mostly quiet, maybe because they had their masks on, said passenger Amanda Bourman, of NY. The NTSB also blamed metal fatigue for an engine failure on a Southwest plane in Florida in 2016. "The engine family has accumulated more than 350 million flight hours as one of the most reliable and popular jet engines in airline history". United Airlines executives said Wednesday that they had begun to inspect some of their planes.

American Airlines has about 300 planes with that type of engine, and Delta has about 185.

The incident resulted in the death of a passenger, which was the first fatality on a USA passenger airline in more than nine years.

US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators responding to the Philadelphia airport immediately focused on a missing fan blade in the damaged engine. In a statement on its website, the company said: "The CFM56-7B engine powering this aircraft has compiled an outstanding safety and reliability record since entering revenues service in 1997 while powering more than 6,700 aircraft worldwide".

FAA issued a certificate of registration in 2000 to the Southwest 737 that experienced the latest inflight engine failure.

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