Southwest Airlines Engine Explodes in Flight, Killing a Passenger

It was the first passenger fatality in a U.S. airline accident since 2009, according to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chairman Robert Sumwalt.

One person was killed and seven others sustained minor injuries on a Southwest Airlines flight from New York to Dallas on Tuesday when an engine exploded in midair. It was the first passenger fatality in a U.S. airline accident since 2009, according to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chairman Robert Sumwalt.

Southwest Flight 1380, a two-engine Boeing 737 with 149 people onboard, made an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport after an explosion occurred about 20 minutes into the flight, shattering a window that partially sucked a woman out of the aircraft. Flight attendants and passengers attempted to pull the woman back into the aircraft and revive her. After the plane landed, she was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The NTSB sent a team to Philadelphia to investigate the crash. Sumwalt said Wednesday morning that investigators found that a fan blade was missing from the plane’s operating engine and appeared to have been separated at “the hub”.

“Our preliminary examination of this was that there’s evidence of metal fatigue where the blade separated,” Sumwalt said.

Sumwalt also said an engine cowling was discovered in Bernville, Pa., about 70 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

The NTSB released footage Wednesday of its investigators examining the interior of the plane and its engine. The lead investigator, Bill English, has received the flight data and cockpit voice recorders, which will be downloaded at NTSB headquarters.

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