Broken window prompts Newark-bound Southwest flight to divert to Cleveland

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WABC) -- A Southwest flight to Newark Liberty International Airport was diverted to Cleveland Wednesday morning after a window cracked mid-flight, according to the FAA.

Southwest Flight 957 took off from Midway Airport in Chicago when it landed at Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport for maintenance review of one of the multiple layers of a window pane, according to Southwest.

In a statement, Southwest said: "The flight landed uneventfully in Cleveland. The aircraft has been taken out of service for maintenance review, and our local Cleveland Employees are working diligently to accommodate the 76 Customers on a new aircraft to Newark."

Both the FAA and Southwest say there was no depressurization in the cabin, and oxygen masks were not deployed.

The pilot did not declare an emergency, but did request to divert to a close airport.

There are no reported injuries.
Southwest didn't immediately release details on how the window was damaged.

Southwest Airlines spokeswoman Brandy King said there were no other mechanical problems with the plane, which was taken out of service. The airline made arrangements to get the 76 passengers to Newark on another plane.

The plane was built in 1998, and King said it has flown about 40,000 "cycles" or flights, "but the damaged window had been previously replaced and continues to receive regular checks as part of our maintenance program." She said it was inspected last month.

Rich Robinson, a sheriff's deputy from Sandwich, Illinois, said when the window cracked, everybody in that area hit the button for the flight attendant.

"She went running back right away, saw it, and everybody cleared out from those couple of rows," he said.

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.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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