US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) analysts have narrowed their search area for fan blades that separated from the right engine of a Southwest 737-300 in an uncontained engine failure to a swath 0.4mi long by 1.7mi long on sparsely populated private property in Hunt County, Texas.

The incident aircraft was climbing through 25,000ft after takeoff from Dallas Love Field on 17 November when the pieces of the CFM56’s fan blade and spinner separated from the engine and fell to the ground.

The aircraft, with five crew and 133 passengers bound for Little Rock, Arkansas, returned safely to Love Field using the left engine. In addition to damage to the engine and its housing, the aircraft sustained “minor” damage to its fuselage.

The NTSB is asking citizens who may search out or otherwise come across the components not to pickup the pieces, but to mark the location. “These engine parts and the exact location of discovery are essential to the investigation,” says the NTSB.

The tracking software to locate the Southwest engine components was used successfully by NTSB to help locate the missing pieces of a GE CF34 engine powering an America West CRJ200LR after an uncontained failure over mountains in Colorado in January 2007.

Source:'s sister premium news service Air Transport Intelligence news