Southwest Airlines Flight 2294

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Southwest Airlines Flight 2294
Philadelphia International Airport, Terminal D&E, N387SW.jpg
N387SW, the aircraft involved in the incident, photographed in 2008 at Philadelphia International Airport.
Incident summary
Date July 13, 2009

In-flight structural failure

Rapid decompression
Site near Charleston, WV
Passengers 126
Crew 5
Injuries (non-fatal) 0
Fatalities 0
Survivors 131 (all)
Aircraft type Boeing 737-3H4
Operator Southwest Airlines
Registration N387SW
Flight origin Nashville International Airport (KBNA)
Destination Baltimore Washington International Airport (KBWI)

Southwest Airlines Flight 2294 (SWA 2294, WN 2294) was a scheduled US passenger aircraft flight which made an emergency landing at Yeager Airport (CRW) in Charleston, West Virginia, on July 13, 2009, after what was described as a "football sized" opening in the airplane's fuselage caused rapid depressurization of the passenger cabin.


The interior of the damaged fuselage section

The aircraft involved was Boeing 737-3H4 N387SW.[1] It was traveling at 34,000 feet on a scheduled flight between Nashville, Tennessee (KBNA), and Baltimore, Maryland (KBWI). The accident was investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).[2]

Earlier criticism of the carrier's lax maintenance and inspection practices, for which the airline had been fined $7.5 million in 2008, was quickly echoed.[3] An NTSB spokesman said the hole was limited to 14 by 17 inches, due to the design of the aircraft.[4]

The NTSB investigation into the incident confirmed that metal fatigue was the cause of the crack;[5] specifically, that the damage was caused by pre-existing fatigue cracks that began at the edge of metal sheets on the inner surface of the aircraft's skin.[6]

Less than two years later, a strikingly similar incident occurred, involving another Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-3H4. In response to the second incident, the FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive requiring more frequent inspections by all airlines of all Boeing 737 Classic aircraft.


  1. ^ "July 2009". Jacdec. Retrieved 17 September 2009. [dead link]
  2. ^ Shawn Nottingham and Stephanie Gallman (July 14, 2009). "Jet makes landing with football-sized hole". CNN. 
  3. ^ Eric Torbenson and Dave Michaels (July 15, 2009). "Hole in Southwest jet revives inspection concerns". Boston Herald. [dead link]
  4. ^ Alan Levin (July 15, 2009). "NTSB: Jet's design limited tear's damage". USA Today. 
  5. ^ Hole in Southwest jet blamed on metal fatigue[dead link]
  6. ^ "NTSB: Fatigue cracks led to hole in Southwest Airlines 737". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 19 August 2010. Retrieved 20 August 2010. 

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