After fatal engine blow on Southwest flight, FAA orders more plane inspections

Firefighter Andrew Needum is credited with trying to save Jennifer Riordan’s life

Firefighter Andrew Needum is credited with trying to save Jennifer Riordan’s life

"CFM recommends ultrasonic inspections within the next 20 days to fan blades of CFM56-7B engines with more than 30,000 cycles since new", the service bullet issued Friday said. Fellow passengers were able to pull her back inside but she died of her injuries.

The inspections recommended within the next 20 days will affect about 680 engines globally, United States regulators said. Southwest became the nation's largest domestic air carrier in 2003 and maintains that ranking based on the U.S. Department of Transportation's most recent reporting of domestic originating passengers boarded.

Airlines have been ordered to carry out emergency inspections of jet engines similar to the one on a plane in which a woman died after being sucked from the cabin.

The EAD comes after a fan blade on a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 snapped off mid-flight, spraying shrapnel that punctured the aircraft's fuselage causing depressurization.

The pilot took the Dallas-bound twin-engined Boeing 737 with 149 people aboard into a steep descent as passengers using oxygen masks that dropped from the ceiling said their prayers and braced for impact. It was the second time this kind of engine had failed on a Southwest jet in the past two years, prompting airlines around the world to step up inspections.

In the earlier case, a fan blade fractured and broke loose, bouncing in front of the engine's protective cover and then striking the plane, causing it to lose pressure.

Riordan graduated from the University of New Mexico in 1999 with a communications degree.

The GE-Safran partnership that built the engine said it was sending about 40 technicians to help with Southwest's inspections.

The manufacturer of the jet engine that blew apart at 32,000 feet in a deadly accident aboard a Southwest Airlines flight wants more jets to be inspected for potential problems.

The CFM International service bulletin also called for airlines to repeat these inspections every 3,000 cycles or two years.

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