Emergency landing for Boeing when hood falls off


A Southwest Airlines flight had to return to Denver, Colorado in the USA on Sunday when an engine hood fell off just after the plane took off, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said. This is the latest in a series of safety incidents involving Boeing aircraft.

The FAA said in a statement that Southwest Airlines Flight 3695, a Boeing 737-800 passenger plane, landed again at Denver International Airport “after the crew reported that the hood had fallen off and hit the wing flap”.

The plane took off at 08:15 (1415 GMT) on Sunday and was on its way to Houston. It was towed back to the gate after landing and the FAA will investigate the incident, the US Civil Aviation Authority said.

CNN, ABC and other US media have shown dramatic videos taken by passengers.

“Let’s declare an emergency for Southwest 3695; request us to return immediately,” a crew member said, according to the New York Times, which cited air traffic control radio messages. “We have a piece of the bonnet hanging off.”

Southwest described the incident as a “mechanical problem” and said the flight landed safely and passengers were booked on other flights.

“We apologize to customers for the inconvenience of delay. Our maintenance crews are reviewing the aircraft. We place the highest priority on the safety of our customers and staff,” a spokesperson told AFP by email.

Boeing declined to comment on the incident.

The planemaker has experienced a string of safety issues in recent years, including the fatal Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes of 737 MAX planes in 2018 and 2019 that claimed the lives of more than 350 people.

In January, the manufacturer also experienced an almost catastrophic incident when a fuselage panel of a Boeing 737 MAX 9 Alaska Airlines plane blew off in the middle of the flight.

In March, a Boeing 777 plane, on its way to Japan, had to make an emergency landing when a wheel fell off just after the plane took off. The wheel ended up in a parking lot of the San Francisco International Airport.

At least 13 people were also hospitalized in March after a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner of LATAM Airlines encountered a technical problem during a flight and suddenly fell some distance in the air. The plane was en route from Sydney to Auckland when the incident occurred.

US regulators have given Boeing 90 days to come up with a plan that can resolve quality control issues. The head of the FAA said the company must “commit itself to real and sweeping improvements”.