FAA orders engine inspections after deadly Southwest Airlines incident

Gary Kelly - Flight 1380

USA airline regulators said Wednesday they will order inspections on engine fan blades like the one that snapped off and triggered a fatal accident on a Southwest Airlines jet. That incident prompted the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to propose past year that similar fan blades undergo ultrasonic inspections and be replaced if they failed.

New footage shows Southwest Airlines flight attendants attempting to calm panicked passengers after a woman was half sucked out of a plane window following a mid-air engine explosion. She later died, and seven others were injured.

The plane, a Boeing 737 bound from NY to Dallas with 149 people aboard, made an emergency landing in Philadelphia.

A career firefighter, 34-year-old Needum and another passenger worked to pull the woman back into the cabin.

But Riordan, a 43-year-old executive at Wells Fargo in Albuquerque, New Mexico, died from blunt impact trauma of the head, neck and torso, a spokesman for the Philadephia Department of Public Health said.

But, when a Southwest flight attendant asked if anyone on the plane knew CPR, Phillips ripped her mask off and leaped into action, as all nurses do.

Unfortunately, despite his efforts Riordan did not survive.

"I feel for her family".

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. 'Psychologically, I think there's a lot going on'.

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David Katzman, a pilot and aviation lawyer whose firm includes an office in Philadelphia, said the engine inspections will be a crucial component in determining what went wrong. It's why all passengers should wear their seat belts to stay safe during the jostling brought by turbulence, notes retired airline captain John Cox. The break appears to have caused an engine failure that forced the plane to make an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport.

On Tuesday, the engine on another Southwest jet exploded over Pennsylvania and debris hit the plane.

Johnson says lawyers for the passengers will most likely target Southwest Airlines as opposed to other parties involved such as Boeing or the the engine's builder, a joint-venture led by General Electric. The FAA proposed to make CFM's recommendation mandatory in August but never issued a directive.

The FAA said Wednesday night that it will issue an airworthiness directive in the next two weeks requiring inspections of certain CFM56-7B engines.

It's unclear why the left engine of the flight malfunctioned when the plane was over 32,000 feet. Last year, the FAA estimated that an order would cover 220 engines on USA airlines. She said the company had satisfied the terms of the CFM service bulletin but did not immediately answer questions about how many engines had been inspected and whether the failed engine had been inspected.

Southwest Airlines announced its own program for similar inspections of its 700 planes over the next month. United Airlines executives said Wednesday that they had begun inspecting some of their planes.

The blades, which sweep air backwards to help provide thrust, can be changed and repaired independently of the rest of the engine, meaning airlines that do not keep tabs have to examine more engines than anticipated, which adds time and cost.

- While the Federal Aviation Administration investigates the cause of the Southwest Airlines accident on Tuesday, another factor gaining greater scrutiny is passenger use of emergency oxygen masks. Boeing said it is providing technical help to the investigation, with which Southwest Airlines is cooperating. "Engine failures like this should not occur, obviously", Sumwalt says.

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