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Mon, Mar 24, 2008

US Airways 757 Sheds Wing Panel Over Maryland

Composite Piece Cracks Cabin Window

Residents of two Maryland counties are asked to be on the lookout for a small composite panel, shed from the wing of an overflying US Airways airliner this weekend.

According to news reports, Flight 1250 was enroute from Orlando to Philadelphia Saturday morning, when an approximately two-by-four-foot panel detached from the left wing of the Boeing 757-200.

Photos taken by one passenger onboard show the hole left by the missing section of upper wing skin, near the fuselage. The composite panel struck the side of the plane, causing minor damage to the fuselage and cracking the outer pane of a cabin window in row 19.

None of the 174 passengers onboard were injured, and the plane continued on its way without any further problems. But the incident left many onboard shaken.

"I'm not going to lie ... I threw up," passenger Christina Duby told WOFL-35. "I got sick to my stomach. I'm sitting above this wing and there was a piece missing."

US Airways spokesman Philip Gee said the airline will investigate. "We take this incident very seriously and are grateful no one was injured and that the flight reached its destination," he said.

The FAA also plans to look into the matter. Authorities in Maryland's Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties were asked by US Airways officials Saturday to keep an eye out for the missing panel.

Controllers at Baltimore-Washington International were advised of a possible emergency landing, but the airliner's crew determined it was safe to proceed to Philadelphia.

That came as little reassurance to passenger Duby. "People were scared. I looked at the flight attendant and asked if she'd ever seen this before, and she said no. I asked, 'Is it bad?' and she smiled and said no," Duby said. "She's a good actress."

FMI: www.usairways.com

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