Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 suffers hole in fuselage

No ifs or buts, there is an actual whacking great hole in the fuselage as you can see in the picture below. Full depressurisation drill and diversion from best part of FL350. No explanation so far. Going to be a busy day for 737 operators (or else an extremely quiet one!)

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Here’s what Southwest says:

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES INFORMATION REGARDING FLIGHT 2294

Scheduled Nashville-Baltimore Flight Diverts to West Virginia

DALLAS, TX–July 13, 2009–Southwest Airlines confirms Flight 2294, the4:05 pm Eastern scheduled departure from Nashville toBaltimore/Washington diverted to Yeager Airport in Charleston, W. Va atapproximately 5:10 pm Eastern today after a cabin depressurization. All126 passengers and crew of five onboard landed safely and are awaitinga replacement aircraft in Charleston that will take them toBaltimore/Washington International Airport later this evening.

The aircraft cabin depressurized approximately 30 minutes into theflight, activating the passengers’ onboard oxygen masks throughout thecabin. Medical personnel in Charleston assessed passengers and noinjuries are reported. Southwest Airlines is sending its maintenancepersonnel to Charleston to assess the aircraft, and the airline willwork with the NTSB to determine the cause of the depressurization.According to initial crew reports, the depressurization appears to berelated to a small-sized hole located approximately mid-cabin, near thetop of the aircraft.

There is no responsible way to speculate as to a cause at this point.We have safety procedures in place, and they were followed in thisinstance to get all passengers and crew safely on the ground. Reportswe have are that our passengers were calm and that our Pilots andFlight Attendants did a great job getting the aircraft on the groundsafely.

In an abundance of caution, we have initiatied an inspection of all737-300s tonight. We expect only minimal impact to tomorrow’s scheduleuntil all of those inspections are complete.


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2 Responses to Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 suffers hole in fuselage

  1. doug r July 18, 2009 at 2:53 pm #

    The Aloha 737-200 was 19 years old when it ripped open. I see that 737-300 were built from 1984 to 1999 which makes this plane 10-25 years old. At least it looks like a partial rip this time like it was designed for.

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