Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Praying in an Airplane

14 July 2009 - CNN

Inspectors have found "nothing unusual" in the rest of Southwest Airlines' fleet of 737-300s after a football-sized hole in one of the jets forced an emergency landing, an airline spokeswoman said Tuesday. The breach in the aircraft's fuselage caused a loss of cabin pressure. No passengers were injured. The airline inspected its roughly 200 Boeing 737-300s overnight following the incident that forced Southwest Flight 2294 to make an emergency landing in Charleston, West Virginia. A sudden drop in cabin pressure caused the jet's oxygen masks to deploy, but there were no injuries among the 126 passengers or the five-member crew.

Merilee McInnis, a Southwest spokeswoman, said the jets were inspected during non-operational hours overnight, and the cause of the incident remained unknown Tuesday morning. The airline is working closely with the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate the matter, she said. Flight 2294 was at 34,000 feet, en route from Nashville, Tennessee, to Baltimore, Maryland, when the incident happened, McInnis said.

"About 45 minutes into the flight, there was a loud pop. No one really knew what it was," passenger Steve Hall told CNN Radio. The plane landed in Charleston at 5:10 p.m. after the crew reported the sudden drop in cabin pressure, which caused the jet's oxygen masks to deploy.

"We were seated about two rows back from the wing, and four rows back you heard this loud rush and your ears popped, and you could tell that part of the inside was trying to pull out," passenger Sheryl Bryant told CNN affiliate WBAL-TV upon arriving in Baltimore aboard a replacement plane.

"And it was crazy -- the oxygen masks dropped," she continued. She put her mask on her face, then helped her 4- and 6-year-old children with theirs, she said. Bryant tried to stay calm and reassure her children, she said. "My kids and I, we prayed, and then we said, you know, life will be fine," she said.

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Then I called on the name of the Lord: “O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!” Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 116:4-9)

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