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NTSB: Southwest 737 Engine Shows Signs Of Metal Fatigue

Woman Critically Injured In The Incident Has Died

It its initial examination of the Southwest Boeing 737 that suffered an uncontained engine failure Tuesday, the NTSB reports that the damaged engine was missing one of 24 fan blades.

CNN reports that NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said that the engine appeared to show evidence of metal fatigue where the blade attached to the hub.

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said at a news conference that he was not aware with any issues with the airplane or engine involved in the incident. He sad that the plane had been inspected on April 15, but did not have details about the extent of the extension.

The woman who was reportedly pulled partially out of the airplane when the window shattered, and later passed away, was identified as Jennifer Riordan. Kelly said that Riordan's family is the airline's primary concern. "This is a sad day and our hearts go out to the family and the loved ones of the deceased customer," he said. "We will do all that we can to support them during this very difficult time."  

The pilot of the plane, Tammie Jo Shults, is being hailed as a hero for safely landing the crippled airplane in Philadelphia. Shults is a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot, and was one of the first women to fly fighters in the Navy, and one of the first women to qualify in F/A-18 Hornets. While Southwest has not officially acknowledged that Shults was the pilot, she was identified by several passengers on social media. It was also confirmed to the AP by her husband, according to the Washington Post.

(Engine photo from YouTube video posted by CBC News)

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