Southwest Engine Explosion Leaves Family Of Victim In 'Unbelievable Shock'

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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.

Federal safety investigators continue to examine the engine of a Southwest Airlines jet that killed a passenger when it exploded in midair. A piece of shrapnel from the blast broke one of the plane's windows, depressurizing the cabin and causing a woman to be partially sucked out of the plane.

The incident comes one day after one of the engines exploded on another Southwest flight traveling from NY to Dallas.

He, and other passengers at the back of the plane at the time, hit the aircraft's ceiling.

His wife nodded that it was OK for Needum to leave his family to help the injured woman.

Other passengers pulled her back in and tried to revive her but she died from her injuries. Needum and retired school nurse Peggy Phillips began administering CPR for about 20 minutes, until the plane landed.

On global flights, the Montreal Convention governs liability, so any passengers who were on one leg of an worldwide trip would be covered by those standards. "I feel for her two kids, her husband, the community that they lived in", an emotional Needum told reporters. "I don't think there's a bad guy here", she said.

Federal investigators are still trying to determine how the window came out of the plane. Then she heard commotion a few rows behind her.

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.

Sumwalt said investigators found that the blade had suffered metal fatigue at the point of the break.

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After that incident, the manufacturer of the engine-CFM International-issued a technical bulletin urging customers to conduct more frequent ultrasonic inspections of the fan in the type of turbofan engine used by Southwest's 737 Next Generation aircraft.

The FAA proposed making the recommendation mandatory in August but never issued a final decision.

Now audio has emerged of the conversation between the plane's pilot and air traffic control; and the composure of the pilot during what had to be one of the most frightening things a person has ever had to endure is nothing short of astounding.

Other Pennsylvania residents said they were stunned when they learned that those were fragments from the Southwest plane.

Photos of the plane on the tarmac showed a missing window and a chunk gone from the left engine, including part of its cover.

She is the first passenger on a US airliner to die in an accident since 2009. "It was on the interior part of the fan blade, so not more than likely, it was certainly not detectable from looking at it from the outside", NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said.

Asked if the engine failure was cause for concern about the reliability of the overall fleet of 737NG-series airliners powered by CFM56 engines, Sumwalt said: "We are very concerned about this particular event".

It is unclear whether the FAA's original directive would have forced Southwest to quickly inspect the engine that blew up.

Pilot Tammie Jo Shults and the rest of the Southwest crew along with Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly, all expressed their condolences. Southwest said it expected to wrap up its inspection of the engines it was targeting in 30 days.

Sumwalt said the fan blade, after suffering metal fatigue where it attached to the engine hub, has a second fracture about halfway along its length.

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