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Tue, Jul 14, 2009

Southwest Airlines 737-300 Depressurizes In-Flight

NTSB Sends Investigative Team To West Virginia

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 incident.

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.

File Photo

The incident occurred about 30 minutes after the plane departed from Nashville. A replacement plane took the passengers on to Baltimore from West Virginia.



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