Close Call

Hole in Plane Forces Landing

A Southwest Airlines jet made an emergency landing in West Virginia Monday night after a football-sized hole opened in the fuselage. The 737 aircraft was en route from Nashville to Baltimore when the pilot reported a hole at the back of the 137-seat plane. The cabin quickly depressurized, and oxygen masks were activated. After about 30 minutes, the aircraft landed safely in Charleston, where police were waiting. Said one passenger: "We heard a loud pop, and one of the panels [on the ceiling] was sucked up tight against the ceiling. You could definitely tell there was a hole there." The incident caused Southwest to call for an overnight inspection of its entire fleet of Boeing 737-300s.