Flight from Phoenix to Sacramento diverted, hole in the jet’s fuselage

April 1, 2011

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A commercial flight from Phoenix to Sacramento today had to be diverted to an airport in Yuma due to rapid cabin decompression caused by a hole in the jet’s fuselage.

“It dropped pretty quick,” said passenger Brenda Reese, who provided cellphone photographs of the cabin damage on the Boeing 737. The pictures showed a panel that was hanging open in a section above the plane’s middle aisle.

“It’s at the top of the plane, right up above where you store your luggage,” Reese told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “The panel’s not completely off. It’s like ripped down, but you can see completely outside… When you look up through the panel, you can see the sky.”

Reese said the plane had just left Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport when she awoke after hearing a “gunshot-like sound” in the cabin and oxygen masks dropped for passengers and flight attendants.

Authorities said the plane landed safely at Yuma Marine Corps Air Station/International Airport at 4:07 p.m., some 150 miles southwest of Phoenix and about 40 minutes after takeoff from Sky Harbor.

One of the passengers recounted her story to CBS13.

“They had just taken drink orders when I heard a huge sound and oxygen masks came down and we started making a rapid decent. They said we’d be making an emergency landing,” said Cindy. “There was a hold in the fuselage about three feet long. You could see the insulation and the wiring. You could see a tear the length of one of the ceiling panels.”

A Sacramento resident said her husband was on the Boeing 737, and said she received a text from him that read: “Plane going down. Love you”. She heard from her husband a few minutes later after the plane landed safely. The woman’s husband said there was an explosion, or a hole in the plane.

Another passenger, Shawna MalviniRedden, tweeted: “Happy to be alive. Still feel sick.6 foot hole in the skin of the plane five rows behind me. Unbelievable.” She also posted this message: “texted my husband ‘ I love you ‘ from the sky.”

Officials with Dallas-based Southwest said there were no injuries among the 118 people aboard. However, Reese said “there were some people that were passing out because they weren’t getting the oxygen.”

She said one flight attendant’s oxygen didn’t work and that he fell and suffered a bloody nose.

A plane bringing the 118 passengers back to Sacramento is scheduled to land in Sacramento at 9:25 p.m. tonight.

More than two decades ago, another plane, also a Boeing 737, blew open at 24,000 feet when a 20-foot section of the aircraft’s upper fuselage ripped off. An Aloha Airlines flight attendant was sucked out of the jet and killed, and 61 passengers were injured.


By: EyeMaster (2168.12)

Tags: Sacramento, California, commercial, flight, Boeing 737, diverted, Yuma, Arizona, hole, fuselage

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