A woman died in a plane accident. 43 year old Jennifer Riordan, a mother of two and a Wells Fargo bank executive was sitting in a plane that just took off from Laguardia airport when one of the engines exploded.
Shrapnel blew out the window where she was sitting nearly sucking her out of the plane. Passengers struggled to pull her back while others tried to stuff clothes to fill the holes. As the plane was quickly loosing altitude, pilots prepared for an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Terrorized passengers had to use their oxygen masks to be able to breath. The whole scene was completely chaotic with passengers screaming and flight attendants breaking into tears. A nurse who was on the plane gave CPR to the injured passenger. She was rushed to the hospital after the plain landed. Unfortunately she couldn’t be saved and later on died from her injuries.
Operated by Southwest Airline, the aircraft that was originally heading to Dallas reported the accident as it was 32,000 feet in the air. Southwest is operating 3500 flights every year. It is the first time that a passenger was killed in a flight accident since the airline started 51 years ago. The plane was visually inspected on Sunday and no problems were detected.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), a fan blade that was cracked broke in two places: where it attached to the main hub and at its midpoint. This crack couldn’t have been detected by visual inspection. Only a thorough ultrasound inspection would have detected it. The NTSB is not finished with its inspection and it is too soon to reach a final conclusion on the exact cause of the accident.
A similar accident occurred on another Southwest flight in 2016. Nobody was injured but after this accident, CFM International, the jet engine supplier, recommended that airlines conduct ultrasound inspection of the blades. The Federal Aviation Administration also wrote a directive to propose such inspections but it was not activated until this accident occurred. It will now take effect in two weeks. In Europe such regulation has been in place since March for all European carriers.
Read more in the New York Times
Picture source Marty Martinez Facebook