Technology

Many passengers wore oxygen masks wrong on Southwest flight

Many passengers wore oxygen masks wrong on Southwest flight

Investigators say a fan blade snapped off as Southwest Flight 1380 cruised at 500 miles per hour high above Pennsylvania on Tuesday, setting off a catastrophic chain of events that killed a woman and broke a string of eight straight years without a fatal accident involving a USA airliner.

The FAA proposal would have given airlines six months to inspect the fan blades on engines that had flown more than 7,500 flights, and 18 months on more lightly used engines.

'This fan blade was broken right at the hub, and our preliminary examination of this was there is evidence of metal fatigue where the blade separated, ' said NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt.

"(Oxygen masks are) the first line of defense against the potentially lethal effects of hypoxia and carbon monoxide poisoning", the Federal Aviation Administration explains on its website.

Although the FAA said the directive would apply to about 220 engines, airlines said that because fan blades may have been repaired and relocated, it would affect a far greater number.

Sumwalt expressed concern about such a destructive engine failure but said he would not yet draw broad conclusions about the safety of CFM56 engines or the entire fleet of Boeing 737s, the most popular airliner ever built.

"We may be seeing a new phenomenon involving engines as they get old", said Bill Waldock, an expert on aircraft accident investigations with the Embry Aeronautical University.

Many passengers seen in cellphone images from Tuesday's Southwest flight that suffered a blown engine were incorrectly wearing their oxygen masks. NTSB officials have told stories about absent parties who were blamed in a probable cause finding because they were absent from the investigation, and it was politically easy to assign blame to an absent party.

The plane, a Boeing 737 was headed from NY to Dallas with 149 people aboard, made an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Debris from the engine and cowling penetrated the plane's wing and fuselage, shattering a passenger window.

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While the airline decided not to identify the pilot, saying only that the employee has years experience on the job, passengers posting on social media identified her as Tammie Jo Shults. The incident marked the first passenger fatality on a USA carrier since 2009. "We've got injured passengers". "There was a lot of blood because she was hit by some of the shrapnel coming off the engine after it exploded".

That pilot has been hailed a hero for the way she handled that emergency situation.

'I have always been concerned about stuff happening with aircrafts flying so close to where we live - we live in a flight zone - but now I know there is a need to be concerned, ' Alicia Miller of Bernville, PA, said.

Passengers praised Shults for her professionalism during the emergency. "We're stunned. My heart breaks for Michael", Marianne Riordan said. Twenty-two minutes later, Shults managed to land the Boeing 737 safely.

Adressing his Facebook followers, he said: 'Emergency landing!

Jennifer Riordan died aboard a Southwest Airlines flight.

"No, it's not on fire, but part of it's missing", Capt Shults replies.

"As a parent, I've said to my kids, "Be kind, loving, caring and sharing, and all good things will come to you", she told the Albuquerque Journal when she accepted the award.