Southwest Incident: NTSB Calls on Public to Turn in Airplane Debris

The explosion littered engine debris.

by Catie Keck

Following the Tuesday incident involving Southwest Airlines Flight 1380, in which an engine explosion led to depressurization in the aircraft and left one passenger dead, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) called on the public to report possible debris resulting from the blast.

The NTSB shared photos of located debris on Twitter Wednesday, as investigations are ongoing. Reached for comment, a representative of the NTSB says that it is in the “evidence collecting stage of the investigation.”

“NTSB has been receiving great support from the general public with this process,” lead public affairs officer for the investigation, Keith Holloway, tells Inverse.

When asked how many parts the NTSB have been recovered and how many members of the public have come forward about possible debris, Holloway said that “inventory of all the pieces has not been conducted.” A report of that nature will be done in the “coming months,” he said.

The explosion reportedly occurred as flight 1380 was departing from New York’s La Guardia Airport around 11 a.m. Eastern on Tuesday. The Washington Post reported Thursday that falling debris was captured on the National Weather Service Doppler radar above southeastern Pennsylvania, predicting where debris would land. NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt confirmed the radar data during a Wednesday press conference.

“We have very talented meteorologists in Washington working [with the] NTSB as well as air traffic control specialists, and they noticed the ATC radar indications,” he said. “They could see reflections of debris being painted on the radar, indicating there was debris flying into the atmosphere.”

The Federal Aviation Administration, meanwhile, has ordered an inspection of the type of engine used for the aircraft.

A woman identified as 43-year-old Jennifer Riordan of Vermont died in the incident after shrapnel from the explosion hit the plane. Riordan was partially sucked out one of the aircraft’s windows before being pulled back. She died of her injuries.

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