Southwest Airlines has confirmed that there has been a fatality following yesterday’s accident involving Flight 1380.

The flight from New York’s La Guardia airport to Dallas made an emergency landing in Philadelphia yesterday. Pictures and reports posted online show significant engine damage and a window blown out.

The aircraft involved was a Boeing 737-700 (N772SW), powered by CFM56-7B engines. In total, the flight had 144 customers and five Southwest crew members onboard.

The passenger who has died is understood to be woman who was reportedly partially sucked out of the plane window after an engine exploded in mid-air.

Southwest Airlines officials are working with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to support an immediate, coordinated response to the accident.

Engine inspections accelerate

Southwest also announced that it is accelerating its existing engine inspection programme relating to the CFM56 engine family.

“The accelerated inspections are being performed out of an abundance of caution and are expected to be completed over the next 30 days,” the airline said. “The accelerated checks are ultrasonic inspections of fan blades of the CFM56 engines.”

The airline expects minimal disruption during the course of the inspections, it added.

CFM responds

CFM said it has sent a team of technical representatives to the site to assist the NTSB in its investigation.

A statement said: “CFM will support the NTSB and Southwest Airlines in determining the cause of the accident and CFM and its parent companies, GE and Safran, will make every resource necessary available to ensure support.”

It added: “The CFM56-7B engine powering this aircraft has compiled an outstanding safety and reliability record since entering revenues service in 1997 while powering more than 6,700 aircraft worldwide. The engine has accumulated more than 350 million flight hours as one of the most reliable and popular jet engine in airline history.”

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