NTSB Confirms What Caused Deadly Southwest Window To Shatter

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Last month, there was a Horrible incident on a Southwest Airlines flight when Engine Failure Caused a Passenger Death. At that time, it was unclear what caused the engine failure. When things like this happen, you wonder how is this possible? Yesterday, the NTSB confirmed that an inboard fan cowl (a jagged chunk of engine part) was what caused the window to shatter after the engine blew apart. The fan blade showed signs of metal fatigue.

The report also notes that the pilots had a hard time handling the plan after the engine blew apart and that the shattered window caused loss of cabin pressure pushing the passenger out.

NTSB Confirms What Caused Deadly Southwest Window To Shatter

As reported by MSN,

Federal investigators on Thursday said the engine fan blade that broke apart during a Southwest Airlines flight last month showed signs consistent with metal fatigue, a defect largely suspected by industry experts analyzing the deadly accident.

A jagged chunk of that engine part, called an inboard fan cowl, shattered a window and caused a partial loss of cabin pressure that pushed Jennifer Riordan halfway out the window. The 43-year-old mother died of multiple blunt force trauma — the first passenger fatality on a U.S. airline in nearly a decade.

The findings also uncovered that the Southwest(LUV)  pilots struggled to handle the plane after the engine blew apart at 32,000 feet over Pennsylvania.

Since the April accident, the Federal Aviation Administration has announced heightened inspections of fan blades in Boeing(BA)  737 engines, which are made by CFM International, a joint venture of General Electric Co.(GE)  and France’s Safran SA(FR:SAF) .

Bottom Line

Very sad and scary. It is good that the FAA is looking at heightening inspections of fan blades. Our hearts are with the family of the passenger who passed away due to this tragic incident.


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The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way.

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