NTSB Seeks Lost Engine Parts in Texas Flight Investigation

The National Transportation Safety Board is searching for engine components that fell to the ground in a sparsely populated rural area of Texas during an engine failure that occurred on a Southwest Airlines flight from Dallas (Love Field), to Little Rock, Ark., on Nov. 17.

The incident, in which pieces of the fan blades and the spinner separated from the #2 engine, occurred at 2:54 p.m. over Hunt County, Texas, at an altitude of 25,000 feet during the climb phase of flight. None of the 133 passengers or five crewmembers on board the B-737-300 (N676SW) aircraft were injured. The crew shut down the damaged engine and returned safely to Dallas on power from the #1 engine. In addition to the damage to the engine and its housing components, the aircraft sustained minor damage to the fuselage.

NTSB engineers developed a Ballistic Trajectory Analysis using data such as the aircraft ground track, speed, prevailing winds, and other factors, to create an area where the engine pieces are most likely to be found. The area is approximately 0.4 miles wide and 1.7 miles long and is located on private property.

NTSB says the owners of the property whose land is in the identified area will be contacted by the Hunt County sheriff's office and will be asked to notify the sheriff if an aircraft engine part is discovered. Because these engine parts and the exact location of discovery are essential to the investigation, parts should not be handled by the public, but instead should be marked in place.

If any parts are found, contact the Hunt County sheriff's office at 903-453-6800.

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