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Apr 3, 2011 5:45 PM by AP posted By James H Egbert

NTSB: Southwest jet had pre-existing fatigue

YUMA, Ariz. (AP) - Federal investigators say the entire length of a 5-foot-long tear in the skin of a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 shows evidence of pre-existing fatigue cracking.

National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt said Sunday that the rip in the jet that made an emergency landing in Yuma, Ariz., on Friday was a foot wide.

It started along a lap joint where two sections of the Boeing 737-300's skin are riveted together.

The jet had leveled off at 36,000 feet after taking off from Phoenix when the skin ruptured. The pilots rapidly descended. One flight attendant was hurt.

Southwest Airlines says it is cancelling 300 flights on Sunday as the airline continues its inspection of 79 of its Boeing 737 aircraft. The move follows 300 cancellations yesterday.

 

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