Southwest plane with cracked window diverted to Cleveland

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737-700 bound for Dallas from New York's LaGuardia airport, made an emergency landing in Philadelphia. CFM first recommended more inspections using ultrasound and electrical currents after an engine broke apart on another Southwest plane in 2016.

One passenger later died of injuries she suffered when the window next to her was blown out; eight others suffered minor injuries.

According to the report, the NTSB says a fan blade broke off, sparking a chain reaction that left the engine cover, left wing, and fuselage with major damage, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport. Maintenance records indicated the accident engine fan blades had been periodically lubricated as required per the Boeing 737-600/700/800/900 Aircraft Maintenance Manual. The fan blades were subjected to visual and fluorescent penetrant inspection, a dye test, which would not have spotted fatigue within the blade.

"The FAA has found that the risk to the flying public justifies waiving notice and comment prior to adoption of this rule, because certain fan blades must be inspected, and, if needed, replaced before further flight", the order states.

On Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration issued stringent new testing orders for the part believed to have caused the engine failure, a broken fan blade. Inspections must be performed within 113 days of the effective date or before the blade accumulates 20,000 cycles.

Figure 4. Picture of window 14 with portion of engine inboard fan cowl.

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"The flight crew reported initial communications difficulties because of the loud sounds, distraction, and wearing masks, but, as the airplane descended, the communications improved", the NTSB said.

The plane's three flight attendants told investigators that they donned oxygen masks after the plane lost pressure and began moving through the cabin to assist passengers.

"Flight data recorder data showed that the left engine parameters all dropped simultaneously, vibration increased, and, within five seconds, the cabin altitude alert activated, " the update said.

Flight 957 was diverted to Cleveland after a report of an issue with a window aboard the aircraft, FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory said.

"The captain initially was planning on a long final approach to make sure they completed all the checklists, but when they learned of the passenger injuries, she made a decision to shorten the approach and expedite landing".

Additional information will be released as warranted.

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