Another Southwest Airlines Plane Window Cracked & The Flight Made An Emergency Landing
Two weeks after a tragic incident in which a window blew out of a Southwest Airlines flight and killed a woman, another window of a Southwest Airlines plane cracked in midair. The latest episode resulted in no fatalities, and the plane — which was traveling from Chicago to New Jersey — was reported to have landed safely after diverting to Cleveland on Wednesday.
The first window cracked after getting hit by shrapnel from the plane's engine, which had exploded in midair. Southwest Airlines told Business Insider that the broken window in this latest incident was not caused by an engine failure. A spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told CNN that it is not yet clear what caused the window to break and that an investigation will be launched.
Images circulating on social media showed a crack in the window. Some passengers wrote that it was in the emergency exit row, according to Cleveland19. One person reported that the break hadn't caused any injuries because it was on the "outside" of the glass.
"On my way to NJ for work and #Southwest957 gets a window crack," passenger Alejandro Aguina wrote. "Only outside crack so we're all safe. On our way to NJ in new plane. Thanks to the @SouthwestAir crew and pilots for handling it professionally."
"The Crew of Southwest Flight 957, with scheduled service from Chicago-Midway to Newark, made the decision to divert the plane to Cleveland for maintenance review of one of the multiple layers of a window pane," said Southwest Airlines in a statement on Wednesday. "The flight landed uneventfully in Cleveland. The aircraft has been taken out of service for maintenance review, and our local Cleveland Employees are working diligently to accommodate the 76 Customers on a new aircraft to Newark."
CNN reported on the texts that one passenger, Linda Holley, sent to her son during the incident. "Window on plane cracked during flight. Landing in Cleveland to be safe. Everything ok but scary," she wrote in one. "Just heard loud noise," she said in another, "Very large crack with piece of window missing at bottom. Just landed. Everything ok. Don't know plan yet."
According to FlightAware, the flight took off at 9:36 a.m. Eastern and made the emergency landing an hour and 10 minutes later at Cleveland's Hopkins International Airport, which is just over 300 miles from Chicago's Midway International Airport and 400 miles from its destination, Newark.
The FAA spokesperson told CNN that the crack had not caused the cabin to depressurize and that no oxygen masks were needed. In contrast, the incident two weeks ago caused the window of Southwest flight #1380 to completely blow out and required masks to be deployed throughout the cabin.
On April 17, the Boeing 737 engine of that flight blew up in the middle of the flight from New York City to Dallas. Shrapnel hit the window near Jennifer Riordan, a 43-year-old mother of two who lived in Albuquerque, and blew it away. Riordan was partially sucked out of the window and hit by shrapnel herself. Passengers and flight attendants managed to pull her back inside the plane and performed CPR on her. She was taken to the hospital in critical condition and died there.
Seven additional people out of the 149 passengers traveling on board received minor injuries from that incident. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, Riordan's death was the first fatality on board a U.S. passenger airplane since 2009, when 50 people died after a plane crashed near Buffalo, New York. An investigation of the April 17 incident is ongoing and will take over a year, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.