After an engine failure on a Southwest Airlines flight that left one passenger dead, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said there had been no indications of any issues with the plane.
The flight took off from New York’s LaGuardia Airport bound for Dallas Love Field, but diverted to Philadelphia after an engine blew and took out a window. The Boeing 737-700 landed at around 11:20 a.m. Tuesday morning with 144 passengers and five crew members.
On Tuesday afternoon, the National Transportation Safety Board said one passenger had died.
The passenger has been identified as Jennifer Riordan, a Wells Fargo executive in Albuquerque, N.M.
Dallas-based Southwest is the second-largest airline at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, behind Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines.
This is Southwest’s first passenger fatality due to an accident in its 47-year history, though in 2005 a boy died after a Southwest plane skidded off a snowy runway amid at Chicago Midway, went through a fence and collided with a car the boy was in.
You can listen to air traffic control communication from the flight here:
In a press conference Tuesday evening at the airline’s Dallas headquarters, Kelly said the airplane had been delivered in July 2000 and was last inspected April 15.
The plane’s CFM56-7 engine is the same type used on all of Southwest’s 737-700s and 737-800s -- which make up the vast majority of its fleet. Kelly called it a “very, very reliable engine.”
“Out of all the hours of usage of the engines over many, many years... there are only a handful of incidents like this that have happened,” Kelly said. “We don’t know the cause of this incident.”
The National Transportation Safety Board sent a go-team to Philadelphia to investigate.
A passenger posted photos and videos from the plane.
Southwest CEO Kelly delivered a video message on the incident.