More flights canceled due to plane malfunction

Numerous planes grounded after 3-foot hole tears open in Boeing 737

Fifteen more flights in and out of San Francisco were canceled Sunday after a hole tore open in a Southwest Airlines plane and the aircraft depressurized as it left Arizona on Friday, a duty manager at San Francisco International Airport said.

Hundreds of flights were canceled and 79 planes were grounded after a 3-foot hole ripped in the top of a plane carrying 118 passengers toward Sacramento from Phoenix, Ariz., at about 3:25 p.m. Friday.

Pilots of Flight 812 worked quickly to land the plane in Yuma, Ariz., while oxygen masks dropped down to allow passengers to breathe during the depressurization, according to Southwest Airlines.

The plane landed a short time later in Yuma. A flight attendant and at least one passenger suffered minor injuries in the commotion, and they were treated and released once on the ground. No one was taken to a hospital, officials said.

Airline management canceled more than 300 flights on Saturday, which caused a ripple effect of travel delays in the Bay Area and throughout California.

"People are getting rebooked. They're managing it," Lily Wang, duty manager at San Francisco International Airport said Sunday.

"Every so often you see a line, but that's expected," she said.

Airline officials are working with the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration to identify and solve any issues with the type of aircraft that malfunctioned.

Nineteen planes underwent intense inspection since 4 p.m. Sunday, and nothing wrong was found with them. Crews returned those planes to service, according to the airline.

The type of plane being inspected -- called a Boeing 737 -- make up about 548 of Southwest Airlines' fleet.

The investigation is expected to last for several days.

All passengers onboard Flight 812 received a full refund and two complimentary roundtrip passes for future flights with Southwest, along with an apology from the company.

— Bay City News Service

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Like this comment
Posted by Wow!
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 4, 2011 at 10:00 pm

So glad the plane held up ok! Now they need to figure out why it happened! I'm not sure I would have flown just then...perhaps rent a car, or train, or....if possible.

Like this comment
Posted by low cost airline
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 4, 2011 at 11:07 pm

low cost airline = low cost maintenance

You get what you pay for.

Like this comment
Posted by well-run airline
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 5, 2011 at 10:03 am

Low cost, you are off base. Southwest is one of the safest airlines, and has one of the best records on maintenance.

This new problem was hidden from view and there was no indication from the airline manufacturer that this part of the plane had to be uncovered in order to check it as part of maintenance.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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