Calgary

WestJet to accelerate engine inspections following fatal Southwest Airlines incident

WestJet Airlines Ltd. says it's immediately accelerating inspections of some fan blades following an engine failure on a Southwest Airlines flight Tuesday that left one passenger dead.

Woman was sucked partway out of jet after engine exploded and debris hit plane

National Transportation Safety Board investigators examine damage to the engine of the Southwest Airlines plane that made an emergency landing on Tuesday in Philadelphia. (NTSB via The Associated Press)

WestJet Airlines Ltd. says it's immediately accelerating inspections of some fan blades following an engine failure on a Southwest Airlines flight Tuesday that left one passenger dead.

Calgary-based WestJet says the European Aviation Safety Authority issued a directive that airlines inspect some fan blades on Boeing 737NG engines by the end of 2019, but the company says it plans to have the inspections done ahead of time based on the Southwest event.

On Tuesday, the engine on a Southwest flight exploded, hitting the plane with debris and forcing an emergency landing in Philadelphia.

A woman was sucked partway out of the jet when a window shattered. She died later from her injuries.

Investigators said the blade that broke off mid-flight and triggered the fatal accident was showing signs of metal fatigue — microscopic cracks from repeated use.

Last year, Southwest Airlines had opposed a recommendation by the engine manufacturer to require ultrasonic inspections of certain fan blades within 12 months, saying it needed more time to conduct the work.

The manufacturer's recommendation for more inspections followed an engine explosion on a 2016 Southwest flight.