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Blown Southwest jet engine shows evidence of 'metal fatigue,' NTSB says


A preliminary examination of the blown jet engine that forced a Southwest Airlines plane to make an emergency landing Tuesday at Philadelphia International Airport shows evidence of “metal fatigue,” officials with the National Transportation Safety Board said.

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Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 was carrying 144 passengers and five crew members from New York's LaGuardia Airport to Dallas Love Field when it made an emergency landing around 11:20 a.m. Tuesday. One person was killed and seven others were injured after the twin-engine 737 blew an engine at 30,000 feet and got hit by shrapnel that smashed a window.

>> Related: Passenger killed in Southwest Airlines emergency landing identified

Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the NTSB, said Tuesday that officials discovered during a preliminary investigation that one of the engine’s 24 fan blades was broken at the hub and missing, the Philly Voice reported. Metal fatigue appeared to be the cause of the break, Sumwalt said.

>> Related: Who is Tammie Jo Shults, pilot of Southwest flight that had engine explosion?

Officials also found part of the engine’s covering in Bernville, Pennsylvania, about 70 miles west of Philadelphia.

Sumwalt said the investigation into the cause of Tuesday’s incident will likely take between 12 and 15 months.

>> Related: Who was Jennifer Riordan, the passenger killed on a Southwest Airlines flight?

“The investigation is very extensive,” Sumwalt said. “We’re just literally at the very, very beginning of the investigation.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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