A similar incident happened in July 2009 when a football sized hole opened up in flight in the fuselage of another Southwest 737, depressurizing the cabin. It was later determined that the hole was caused by metal fatigue.
The latest incident "certainly makes me think there is something wrong with the maintenance system at Southwest and it makes me think there is something wrong with the (FAA) principal maintenance inspector down there that after that big event they weren't watching this more closely," Goglia said in an interview.
"People were dropping," said Christine Ziegler, a 44 year old project manager from Sacramento who watched as the crew member and a passenger nearby fainted. Nelson and Ziegler spoke after a substitute flight took them on to Sacramento.
Holes in aircraft can be caused by metal fatigue or lightning. The National Weather Service said the weather was clear from the Phoenix area to the California border on Friday afternoon.
The National Transportation Safety Board said an "in flight fuselage rupture" led to the drop in cabin pressure aboard the plane.
An FAA inspector from Phoenix and an NTSB crew were expected to be in Yuma on Saturday to investigate.
One passenger called it "pandemonium." Another watched as a flight attendant and another passenger passed out, apparently for lack of oxygen, their heads striking seats in front of them.
Southwest officials said the Arizona plane had undergone all inspections required by the FAA, but they did not immediately provide the date of the last inspection.
The 737 300 is the oldest plane in Southwest's fleet, and the company Nike Zoom Hyperquickness is retiring 300s as it take deliveries of new Boeing 737 700s and, beginning next year, 737 800s. But the process of replacing all the 300s could take years.
No serious injuries were reported among the 118 people aboard although a flight attendant was slightly hurt, according to Southwest officials. The cause of the hole was not immediately known. The FBI called it a "mechanical failure," not an act of terror or other foul play.
The plane is a 15 year old Boeing 737 300. Southwest officials said they would pull about 80 similar planes out of service for inspections of the fuselage, forcing the airline to plan to cancel roughly 300 flights Saturday.
ever had something like this happen," said Reese, a 37 year old single mother of three who is vice president for a clinical research organization. "I just want to get home and hold my kids."
Officials said Flight 812 lost pressure because of a fuselage rupture. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the pilot made a "controlled descent Nike Zoom Womens Basketball Shoes
Julie O'Donnell, an aviation safety spokeswoman for Seattle based Boeing Commercial Airplanes, confirmed "a hole in the fuselage and a depressurization event" in the latest incident but declined to speculate on what caused it.
from 36,000 feet to 11,000 feet altitude."
Reese said passengers applauded the pilot after he emerged from the cockpit following the emergency landing at Yuma Marine Corps Air Station/International Airport.
Seated one row from the rupture, Don Nelson said it took about four noisy minutes for the plane to dip to less than 10,000 feet. "You could tell there was an oxygen deficiency," he said.
There was "never any danger that the plane would fall out of the sky," Goglia said. "However, anybody on that airplane with any sort of respiratory problems certainly was at risk."
PHOENIX (AP) A "gunshot like sound" woke Brenda Reese as her Southwest Airlines flight cruised at 36,000 feet. Looking up, she could see the sky through a hole torn in the cabin roof.
"The panel's not completely off," she told The Associated Press. "It's like ripped down, but you can see completely outside. When you look up through the panel, you can see the sky."
His safe emergency landing at a military base in Yuma, about 150 miles southwest of Phoenix, drew applause from relieved passengers.
Cellphone photographs provided by Reese showed a panel hanging open in a section above the plane's middle aisle, with a hole of about six feet long.
"Obviously we're dealing with a skin issue, and we believe that these 80 airplanes are covered by a set of (federal safety rules) that make them candidates to do this additional inspection that Boeing is devising for us," Rutherford said.
was on the ground.
The Boeing 737 lost cabin pressure after the hole developed Friday, prompting frightened passengers to grope for oxygen masks as the plane made a terrifying but controlled descent.
"It was unreal. Everybody was like they were high school chums," Ziegler said, describing a scene in which passengers comforted and hugged each other after the plane Nike Kyrie On Feet
Afterward, Southwest and the FAA reached an agreement specifying actions the airline would take to prevent another episode, said John Goglia, a former National Transportation Safety Board member and an expert on airline maintenance. The details of that agreement are considered proprietary and haven't been made public, he said.
"I fly a lot. This is the first time I Metcon Nike 2
foot hole in Boeing 737 prompts emergency landing
Reese said the plane had just left Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport for Sacramento, Calif., when the "gunshot like sound" woke her up. Oxygen masks dropped as the plane dove.
Southwest operates about 170 of the 737 300s in its fleet of about 540 planes, but it replaced the aluminum skin on many of the 300s in recent years, spokeswoman Linda Rutherford said. The roughly 80 planes being grounded have not had their skin replaced, she said.
Reese described the hole as "at the top of the plane, right up above where you store your luggage."
Four months before that emergency landing, the Dallas based airline had agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle charges that it operated planes that had missed required safety inspections for cracks in the fuselage. The airline, which flies Boeing 737s, inspected nearly 200 of its planes back then, found no cracks and put them back in the sky.
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