Southwest jet diverts, makes emergency stop due to cracked window
Southwest Airlines (LUV) domestic flight bound for Newark, New Jersey (U.S.), made an emergency landing in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 2, 2018, after a window pane cracked during flight, airline officials and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed. No one was injured in the incident, the latest in a series of blunders that has damaging implications for the Dallas-based carrier.
Flight 957 departed from Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) at about 8:40 a.m. EDT and was on route to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) with 76 passengers on board. The Boeing 737-700 was cruising at about 26,000 feet when passengers reportedly heard the window at the middle of the cabin crack.
„There was a loud pop and then the pilot came out and then checked things out; and then he announced we had to divert to Cleveland,” passenger Chris Speros, told The New York Post. “It was pretty tense because he announced there was a crack in the window. We still had pressure in the cabin, but he wasn’t sure how much longer we were going to have it,” the passenger added.
According to a Southwest spokesman, at about 11 a.m. EDT, the crew had to divert the plane to Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport (CLE) in order to inspect a layer of a windowpane, Reuters reports. Southwest assured that the cabin did not lose pressure because there are “multiple layers of panes in each window”. Pilots also never declared an emergency before landing at Cleveland.
“The aircraft has been taken out of service for maintenance review,” a spokesman for the airline stated. Southwest also reassured that its maintenance program is approved by the FAA, and that “our established programs and processes are designed to enable us to operate at the highest level of safety,” Bloomberg reports.
According to the FAA, the passenger window was broken, but the regulator did not provide any further details, stating only that it will investigate the incident. The cause of the crack in one of the window’s multiple panes has not been determined yet.
The incident comes just two weeks after an engine on a Southwest Boeing 737-700, carrying 143 passengers and five crew members on board, broke apart mid-flight, shattering a window and killing one passenger.
On May 1, 2018, the FAA ordered additional inspections of fan blades in engines similar to the one that failed in the deadly accident on April 17, 2018. On its part, Southwest said it has not found any cracks on fan blades inspected since the accident, Reuters writes.
Earlier this year, on February 7, 2018, a Southwest Boeing 737, carrying 143 passengers and six crew members, nearly skidded off taxiway before take-off at Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) in Maryland. No one was injured in that incident.
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