Southwest Air Jet Diverted After Damage From Engine Failure

  • U.S. safety board probes incident on plane carrying 104 people
  • New Orleans-to-Orlando flight makes safe emergency landing

A Southwest Airlines Co. jet was forced to make an emergency landing after the cabin lost pressure due to what federal officials called a rare uncontained engine failure.

No one was injured on Flight 3472 from New Orleans to Orlando, Florida, when the Boeing Co. 737 was diverted Saturday to Pensacola International Airport in Florida, an spokesman said by e-mail, citing an unknown mechanical issue. A photo posted on Twitter Inc. by the Southwest pilots union showed the plane in flight with the front of the left nacelle, as the casing is formally known, torn off to expose the engine inside.

“A great job today by our professional SouthwestAir pilots!,” the union wrote.

In an uncontained failure, debris escapes the hardened engine casing and can damage or penetrate the wings or fuselage, amplifying the risk to the aircraft far beyond the loss of thrust. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said in a Twitter posting that it is investigating.

The flight landed without incident at 10:40 a.m. New York time, after roughly a half-hour in the air, according to airline data-tracker There were no indications of injuries among the 99 passengers and five crew members on board, the spokesman said.

Southwest notified the safety board of the incident and, when authorized, will inspect the plane to assess the damage. The aircraft is out of service, and Dallas-based Southwest said it is working to get the passengers to Orlando or their final destination as soon as possible.

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