Inspectors discover small cracks on more jetliners

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YUMA, Ariz. --- Inspectors have found small, subsurface cracks in two more Southwest Airlines planes that are similar to the cracks that caused a jetliner to lose pressure and make a harrowing emergency landing in Arizona, the airline said in a statement Sunday.

The two planes will be evaluated further and more repairs will be made before they are returned to service, Southwest said.

Friday's flight carrying 118 people lost cabin pressure after the Boeing 737-300's fuselage ruptured -- causing a 5-foot-long tear -- just after takeoff from Phoenix.

Passengers recalled tense minutes after the hole ruptured overhead with a blast and they fumbled frantically for oxygen masks. Pilots made a controlled descent from 34,400 feet into a southwestern Arizona military base. No one was seriously injured.

The tear along a riveted "lap joint" shows evidence of extensive cracking that hadn't been discovered during routine maintenance before Friday's flight -- and probably wouldn't have been unless mechanics had specifically looked for it, officials said.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators on Sunday were in Yuma, Ariz., to oversee the removal of the top section of the jetliner's roof around the tear.

The structure will be sent to Washington for analysis.

Flights canceled

Southwest said it canceled about 300 flights for the second day in a row Sunday as it inspected 79 similar planes in its fleet that it has grounded. By Sunday afternoon, 19 planes had undergone the intense inspection with no findings and had been returned to service, the airline said.

-- Associated Press

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blakkone 04/04/11 - 09:35 am
That's why I hate flying, but

That's why I hate flying, but its so necessary. 34,000 feet in the air and your life depends on a failed inspection. Not to mention airline prices!

Richmnd Cty Votr
Richmnd Cty Votr 04/04/11 - 05:54 pm

PAY ATTENTION TO TOXIC FUMES on YOUR FLIGHT! I wonder if any of these planes are going to fix toxic fumes, too? I had a sister and her 2 daughters ride planes from PGH to Dallas and immideately my sister had neurological issues, then about a few months later both sisters had neurological issues. Then I read where a business woman went to a business meeting from California to Texas, and when she returned home, she committed suicide. She had never had any issues before and was fine at the meeting. Then my friend went to Thailand, and smelt some bad odors, when they landed she felt sick and went to the bathroom and passed out, then she went into some sort of depression. She came out 7 years later. I just wonder if this Aerotoxic is more common than we hear about. Of course the Airlines are not going to gather everyone up on the plane after they had a chemical release then get sued. Read about it here and if you know someone with similar circumstances something should be done. Also, where are those Lawyers that chase Ambulances? They need to find out if there are class action lawsuits. Check it out at:

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