See the picture. See the sunshine. Uh-oh.
This morning, details are slowly coming out concerning Southwest Airlines‘ flight 2294 that was forced to make an emergency landing in Charleston, West Virginia last night.
According to reports, a one by one foot hole developed in the roof of the Boeing 737-300 developed while the flight was in progress between Nashville and Baltimore/Washington International. After looking at video of the aircraft it appears that the hole in the fuselage developed directly in front of where the tail section is attached to the top of the aircraft.
The photo above was taken by a passenger on the aircraft, using his Blackberry.
According to a post by Southwest’s Paula Berg posted on the airline’s website Monday night,
“The aircraft cabin depressurized approximately 30 minutes into the flight, activating the passengers’ onboard oxygen masks throughout the cabin. Medical personnel in Charleston assessed passengers and no injuries are reported. Southwest Airlines is sending its maintenance personnel to Charleston to assess the aircraft, and the airline will work with the NTSB to determine the cause of the depressurization. According to initial crew reports, the depressurization appears to be related to a small-sized hole located approximately mid-cabin, near the top of the aircraft.”
The airline apparently began an emergency inspection of all of its 737-300s last night. Not much more information this morning on just which aircraft were inspected or if that inspection process is continuing this morning.
No more information is known about what happened at this time, but I think it would be safe to assume that the incident is going to restart the conversation concerning the airline’s previous issues with the FAA — most of which concerned inspection for cracks on the airline’s older aircraft.
The NTSB has already been on the scene, as they used a cherry picker to inspect the hole from the top of the aircraft.