The NTSB is
dispatching investigators to look at a Southwest Airlines jet that
made an emergency landing in West Virginia yesterday after a hole
opened in the body of the plane and the cabin lost pressure.
At 1807 EDT, a Southwest flight 2294, 737-300 (N387SW), from
Nashville headed to Baltimore Washington International Airport
experienced rapid decompression. The crew declared an
emergency and landed at Yeager Airport in Charleston, West
Virginia. On examination, a one foot hole was discovered in
the top of the fuselage. There were no injuries reported.
Senior Aviation investigator Bob Benzon will lead the team.
According to FAA registration records, the aircraft was
manufactured in 1994 and has been in service since receiving an
airworthiness certificate in June of that year. That could indicate
a high number of cycles for the airplane which can cause fatigue.
Investigators will make a determination about stress to the
aircraft and whether it was a contributing factor in the
A passenger on board the flight told the Associated Press that
he had to calm his children after a fairly rough takeoff. That same
passenger told the news service that "Literally the whole top of
the plane ripped off." He also recorded video of the hole in the
roof using his cell phone.
The incident occurred about 30 minutes after the plane departed
from Nashville. A replacement plane took the passengers on to
Baltimore from West Virginia.