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Friday, April 20, 2018

Southwest Airlines says they need to make some examinations

Por Damian

Southwest Airlines asked for more time last year to inspect propellers like the one that broke during one of its flights recently in a turbine fault that left a passenger dead. The airline objected to a recommendation from the turbine manufacturer to perform ultrasonic inspections of certain propellers within 12 months, saying it needed more time to perform the checks.

Southwest made the comments after US federal regulators proposed making inspections mandatory. The Federal Aviation Administration has not yet required the airlines to carry out the inspections, but said last Wednesday night that it will do so in the next two weeks.

The manufacturer's recommendation followed the explosion of a turbine on a Southwest flight in 2016. On last Tuesday, a turbine from another Southwest flight blew up over Pennsylvania and fragments hit the fuselage. A woman was partially sucked when a window broke. The woman died later because of her injuries.

The name of the victim was Jennifer Riordan, of Albuquerque, a mother of two, a vice president of a Wells Fargo branch in New Mexico. While the woman died after being transferred to the hospital, seven other people had minor injuries as well.

The plane, a Boeing 737, which was heading from New York to Dallas with 149 people on board, made an emergency landing at the airport in Philadelphia. Passenger Andrew Needum, who is a Texas firefighter, said last Thursday he was helping his family and other passengers with their oxygen masks when he heard a commotion and went to help the wounded woman.

Tim McGinty said that he and Needum went to work to keep Jennifer Riordan inside the plane. Needum and a retired nurse, Peggy Phillips, began giving the 43-year-old woman cardiopulmonary resuscitation for about 20 minutes, until the plane landed.

Federal investigators are still trying to determine why the window was unlocked. Riordan, who was in row 14, was wearing a seatbelt. The coroner in Philadelphia said Riordan, died of injuries caused by the impact on the head, neck and torso.

The researchers said the propeller that broke in the middle of the flight and caused the turbine to fail showed signs of "metal fatigue," that is to say, micro fractures caused by repeated use.