NTSB Sends Team To Inspect Hole in Southwest Airlines 737

 - July 14, 2009, 10:51 AM

The National Transportation Safety Board has dispatched investigators to examine a Southwest Airlines jet after it made an emergency landing in West Virginia yesterday after a hole opened in the body of the airplane and the cabin lost pressure.

At 6:07 p.m. EDT, Southwest Flight 2294, a Boeing 737-300 (N387SW) flying from Nashville to Baltimore Washington International Airport, experienced rapid decompression. The crew declared an emergency and landed at Charleston, W.Va. On examination, crews discovered a one-foot-wide hole in the top of the fuselage. No injuries resulted from the mishap, but oxygen masks deployed.

Southwest inspected 181 of its 737-300s overnight and found no evidence of any abnormalities in their fuselage skins. According to the FAA Registry, N387SW (S/N 26602) was manufactured in 1994.