Airliner That Depressurized 'Performed As Designed'
The Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 which depressurized after a
hole developed in its roof was designed to limit damage in such an
accident, according to the NTSB.
USA Today reports that NTSB Spokesman spokesman Peter Knudson
said Federal regulations require jets to be able to experience a
tear in the fuselage without the damage spreading. "This safety
feature performed as designed," Knudson said.
The flight, which
originated in Nashville, TN was enroute to Baltimore when a
14-by-17-inch rectangle of the airplane's skin tore away, leaving a
hole open to the sky near the rear of the aircraft. Passengers
reported hearing a loud "Pop" about 30 minutes into the flight, and
then the oxygen masks dropped from their compartments above the
seats. The pilot made an emergency landing in West Virginia.
Southwest Airlines spokesperson Beth Harbin said the airline
inspected all of its Boeing 737-300 aircraft after Monday's
incident, and no other problems were discovered. The plane
that depressurized was delivered to Southwest in 1994.