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Southwest Airlines Flight 3472 Forced To Make Emergency Landing After Engine Failure

( [email protected] ) Aug 29, 2016 07:00 AM EDT
On the morning of August 27, 2016, there was a terrible accident on the left engine of Southwest Airlines Flight 3472.  The plane was travelling from New Orleans to Orlando when the engine on the Boeing Co. 737-700 blew, which would cause the flight to be diverted to Pensacola International Airport.
The Engine for Southwest Flight 3472. Wall Street Journal

On the morning of August 27, 2016, there was a terrible accident on the left engine of Southwest Airlines Flight 3472.  The plane was travelling from New Orleans to Orlando when the engine on the Boeing Co. 737-700 blew, which would cause the flight to be diverted to Pensacola International Airport. 

According to Airlive, a woman aboard the plane was riding with her husband and three children, when she heard a loud explosion.  She stated that there was smoke, and then nothing.  There were parts flapping in the wind and it was right outside her window. 

Another passenger revealed that after the loud explosion, after that was very controlled.  "Scary, but in control.  Everyone cheered for the pilot when we landed safely". 

The Wall Street Journal reports that photos taken aboard the aircraft shows the engine inlet completely torn away, which reveals extensive structural damage to the engine nacelle that hangs underneath the wing.  There was other damage to the fuselage, front edge of the wing, horizontal tail stabilizer, and winglet. 

A Southwest spokesman said that the failure resulted in the depressurization of the cabin.  As the plane shook and descended rapidly, the oxygen mask dangled from above the passengers.  Of course, there was a lot of screaming and crying, but there were no injuries reported among the 99 passengers and crew of five on the flight. 

Southwest's Initial Statement states that the Captain of Flight #3472 made the decision to divert to Pensacola due to the mechanical issue with the number one engine, and the plane landed at Pensacola International Airport at 9:40 AM Central Time.  The NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) was authorized, and Southwest will be inspecting the aircraft to assess the damage.  The passengers will be accommodated to Orlando or their final destination as soon as possible. 

A Boeing spokesman said in a statement that it would serve as a technical adviser for any inquiry and the plane maker is "working closely with our customer and CFM to understand the issue".  CFM International, a joint venture between General Electric Co. and France's Safran SA, is the sole supplier of engines to Boeing for the single-aisle 737. 

Southwest has had some high profile incidents, which includes a botched landing at New York's La Guardia Airport in 2013 that collapsed the jet's nose landing gear, not to mention the tearing away of part of an aircraft's fuselage skin during 2009 and 2011 incidents, also causing cabin depressurization.  Southwest replaced structural panels on many of the older 737s. 

All in all, this is a pretty good recovery for Southwest.  As you can see in the illustration, that engine looks extremely damage, and it I'm certain it looked to their passengers that a crash was imminent.  However, in spite of the forced landing and inconvenience to the passengers, everyone turned out all right.