Southwest Airlines flight 1380 engine failure leaves one dead, seven injured

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A Southwest Airlines flight made an emergency landing in Philadelphia due to engine failure April 17. Flight 1380 was on path for Dallas, Texas after departing from La Guardia airport in New York. Out of the 144 passengers and five crew members, one person was killed and seven others had minor injuries after the explosion occurred.
It was only about 20 minutes into the flight when the plane’s left engine exploded causing the aircraft to plunge thousands of feet within a minute. Oxygen masks dropped down for passengers in the cabin, but unfortunately one passenger in Row 14 was partially sucked out of a window after a gust of shrapnel blew it out, ultimately forcing her headfirst into the sky.
Though she was pulled back inside the aircraft by two other men on the flight, the passenger died after being admitted to the hospital in critical condition. Southwest said this was the first death from an in-flight incident in the company’s history.
“I would be terrified. The thought of a plane crashing is just scary in itself. I would like to think I would stay calm but you never really know in a moment of panic,” said Martha Davies-Cutting, freshman.
The exact reason for the engine’s failure was a mystery considering the plane was last inspected April 15, two days before the engine explosion. Evidence of metal fatigue was found where the blade attached to the hub. These blades rotate at extremely high revolutions per minute (RPM) which meant a piece of metal went smashing through almost the entire machine, damaging more engine parts on its path. This caused the entire engine to become unbalanced, shaking itself into pieces.
“I think that they need to take the planes and make sure that they are

The National Transportation Safety Board inspects the plane’s exploded engine.

inspected properly and that they try to prevent this in any manner of it happening again,” said Daniel Hrehor, history teacher.
Airline pilots practice a total engine failure scenario in case of emergencies just like this one, but the pilots of flight 1380 were faced with multiple emergencies at once. Along with the engine failure, explosive pressurization occurred when the cabin was punctured by shrapnel, fragments of the exploded engine.
Veteran Navy pilot Tammie Jo Shults rerouted the plane to Philadelphia for the emergency landing. As one of the Navy’s first female pilots at a time when women were still barred from combat duty, Shults had had experience dealing with situations of panic. She radioed air traffic controllers in Philadelphia to discuss her approach and was able to land the plane quickly and safely.
“[Shults] was doing her job but was a hero as well. She knew enough to get that plane out of the air and make sure that all the passengers were safe. So, yes, she is a hero in that aspect,” said Hrehor.



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