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20 April 2018, 12:53 | Rudolph Thomas
Passengers say pilot of ill-fated Southwest Airlines flight is a hero
The investigation into a deadly engine failure on a Southwest jet is focusing on whether wear and tear caused a fan blade to snap off, triggering a catastrophic chain of events that killed a passenger and broke a string of eight years without a fatal accident involving a USA airliner.
On Tuesday, one engine on the plane disintegrated, spraying shrapnel that depressurised the plane and forced the pilot to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia.
Riordan was sitting near the window and was pulled partially through.
"As captain and first officer of the crew of five who worked to serve our customers aboard Flight 1380 yesterday, we all feel we were simply doing our jobs".
An emotional Andrew Needum told reporters Thursday that he was traveling with his wife, two young children and parents when they heard a loud pop Tuesday.
Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said investigators are aware of reports from passengers that Riordan was almost sucked out of the plane, but that "we have not corroborated that ourselves". In that case, the NTSB found that one fan blade had separated from the fan disk because of fatigue cracking. It was the first death in a USA commercial aviation accident since 2009.
"We want to very carefully understand what was the result of this problem, and as I mentioned a few minutes ago, I'm very concerned about this particular event", he said at news conference at the Philadelphia airport.
"To be able to extrapolate that to the entire fleet, I'm not willing to do that right now".
A Southwest spokeswoman said the engine that failed was not covered by that directive, but the airline announced it would speed up ultrasonic inspections of its CFM56-series engines anyway.
Canada's Transport Safety Board has only three investigation reports involving Boeing 737-700 jets. No plastic material from the window was found inside the plane. And even if you had no parts on that engine, you should be analyzing the root cause to identify what can be learned from this accident, and how we can prevent a future accident from occurring for any related reasons.
"SWA does NOT support the CFM comment on reducing compliance time to 12 months", Southwest Airlines wrote in a comment available on the federal website that allows companies and individuals to comment on proposed new rules. "So careful (visual) maintenance inspection from outside the fan blade would not have detected it, more than likely".
Peggy Phillips spoke to WFAA-TV upon her arrival in Dallas Tuesday night. "He couldn't do it by himself, so another gentleman came over and helped to get her back in the plane, and they got her".
Albuquerque, N.M., bank executive Jennifer Riordan, shown in 2017, died in the plane emergency.
Passengers commended Ms Shults, a former US Navy fighter pilot, for her cool-headed handling of the emergency. "I saw a passenger pumping on her chest performing CPR and someone ran up to the front of the plane where they got a defibrillator".
A photo believed to be of a damaged window of the Southwest Airline flight. A spokeswoman said it was a visual inspection and oil service of the engines.
A piece of the engine's cover was also ripped off and fell to the ground about 75 miles from the Philadelphia airport.
NTSB accident investigations often take a year to 18 months to complete.
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