Engine cowling falls off Southwest Airlines plane during takeoff from Denver International Airport in Colorado

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Southwest Airlines Flight 3695

8th April 2024 – (Los Angeles) A Boeing 737-800 aircraft was forced to make an emergency stop on Sunday after the crew reported that the engine cowling had detached and struck the wing flap during takeoff from Denver International Airport in Colorado, United States. According to authorities, Southwest Airlines Flight 3695 returned safely to the airport shortly after the incident was reported.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed the incident in a statement, mentioning that the flight was en route to William P. Hobby Airport in Houston at the time. The FAA also stated that an investigation into the incident will be conducted.

Southwest Airlines released a statement acknowledging the mechanical issue and assuring that the flight had landed safely. They further informed that the affected passengers were transported to Houston Hobby on another aircraft, albeit with a delay of approximately three hours. Southwest Airlines’ maintenance teams are currently reviewing the aircraft involved.

FAA records indicate that the Boeing 737-800 aircraft, delivered in 2015, had its engine manufactured by CFM. The engine cowling, which fell off during takeoff, is a removable metal covering designed to protect the engine.

A passenger on the flight captured a video showing debris flying off the plane as it was taxiing on the runway at Denver International Airport. Local news station KUSA reported that a picture taken after the plane’s safe landing revealed noticeable damage and missing parts from the right engine.

Recordings from air traffic control obtained from LiveATC.net featured a Southwest pilot informing the Denver International Airport air traffic controller that although the cockpit crew did not witness the incident, the crew in the rear of the aircraft reported structural damage. The pilot assured that the engines appeared to be functioning properly.

Boeing has been grappling with significant quality and safety concerns related to its aircraft for several years, resulting in the grounding of specific models and halted deliveries. Between October 2018 and March 2024, the company faced various incidents that raised doubts about the safety and reliability of its aircraft.