CLEVELAND – A cracked window on a Southwest Airlines plane forced a plane heading from Chicago to New Jersey to land in Cleveland Wednesday, just two weeks after a jet engine blew apart and broke a window in a deadly accident aboard another Southwest flight.
There were no reports of injuries after Flight 957 landed safely.
Dallas-based Southwest said that the plane diverted to Cleveland for a maintenance review after the damage to one of the multiple layers of window pane. Photos from inside the plane taken by passengers and posted on social media showed one window with a large, jagged crack.
Southwest didn't immediately release details on how the window was damaged.
Southwest Airlines spokeswoman Brandy King said that the pilots decided to land in Cleveland "for maintenance review" of one layer in a multi-layered window pane. She said the plane never lost cabin pressure — that would have triggered oxygen masks to drop down for passengers — and that the pilots did not declare an emergency before landing.
King said there were no other mechanical problems with the plane, which was taken out of service. The airline was trying to make arrangements to get the 76 passengers to Newark on another plane.
The timing of the incident could hardly be worse for Dallas-based Southwest, the nation's fourth-biggest airline. Airline executives said last week they have seen ticket sales slow since the April 17 engine failure than sent debris flying into a plane, breaking a window and killing a passenger, 43-year-old Jennifer Riordan of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Southwest estimates the drop in sales will cost it between $50 million and $100 million.
After the Philadelphia emergency landing, the Federal Aviation Administration ordered inspections of more jet engines like the one that blew apart at 32,000 feet on that Boeing 737 jet. The National Transportation Safety Board believes one of the blades snapped on the Southwest flight, hurling debris that broke a window.
Riordan died of injuries suffered after she was partially sucked out of a window that had been broken by shrapnel. The jet, which was headed from New York to Dallas, made an emergency landing in Philadelphia.