Since 2009, there have been no fatalities on U.S. airlines. This week that statistic changed with the engine failure on Southwest Airlines Flight 1380. When the engine blew on the Boeing 737-700, some of the debris hit the plane and broke one of its windows. The pilot, a hero by the name of Capt. Tammie Jo Shults, fearlessly managed a safe emergency landing on this plane. In doing so, this former fighter pilot with the U.S. navy saved the lives of so many on board. Unfortunately, one passenger who happened to be sitting next to the shattered window, had been impaled by debris before the landing and ultimately died from her injuries.
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Investigators have said that the engine on this jet blew when one of the fan blades separated from the engine fan. Thus far, they believe that it was most likely a fatigue fracture that caused the fan to break and that the fracture may not have been visible during routine inspection.
In response to the accident, the FAA had mandated that CFM56-7B engines, such as the one that broke during this flight, must be ultrasonically inspected after a given number of takeoffs and landings. Southwest has also decided to inspect their entire fleet for similar problems over the next month. But is this enough? And why wasn’t this inspection policy in place before this tragic accident?
There are several parties that may be liable for this accident and the resulting death of this passenger, such as Southwest Airlines, Boeing, and the manufacturer of the engine, CMF International. Each of these entities had specific responsibilities to inspect the airplanes engine, both visually and ultrasonically, to ensure the safety of passengers. A failure by any one of them to fulfill their duties would speak to negligence.
Negligence in this case would mean that any one of the entities failed to fully inspect and comply with FAA regulations. For instance, if CMF was aware that their engines were prone to fatigue fractures on the fans and did not inform Boeing or the FAA on how to effectively inspect for such defects, that would be negligence on their part. If Boeing was aware of this possibility and failed to inform Southwest or the FAA, that would also be negligence. Another negligent act may have been Southwest Airlines failure to properly inspect their airplanes ultrasonically and in compliance with federal regulations. Here, the company says they had inspected the plane just four days earlier without issue. However, investigations are currently underway as to the scope of these inspections and whether more could have and should have been done to prevent engine failure that can easily lead to accidents, injuries, and even death.
Injuries or death due to engine failure are rare on passenger airlines, but when these incidents occur, it is important to contact a personal injury lawyer to preserve all evidence and immediately retain liability experts to conduct an inspection. At the Aigen Law Firm, you will be represented by an experienced attorney that has prevailed against major corporations in many cases involving complex issues similar to this personal injury case due to the engine failure on this Southwest Airlines jet. At the Aigen Law Firm, we are available to guide you, protect your rights, answer your questions, and fight to ensure that we maximize your recovery against all responsible parties.
Please do not hesitate to submit an online FREE CASE REVIEW. At Aigen Law Firm, an experienced lawyer is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week working relentlessly on behalf of victims who suffer from all types of accidents. We offer a free consultation for your personal injury case and there is no fee unless we recover for you.