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NTSB RELEASES PHOTOS OF DAMAGED SECTION OF SOUTHWEST AIRLINES 737 FUSELAGE



Title: NTSB RELEASES PHOTOS OF DAMAGED SECTION OF SOUTHWEST AIRLINES 737 FUSELAGE

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                       NTSB ADVISORY
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National Transportation Safety Board
Washington, DC 20594

July 16, 2009

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NTSB RELEASES PHOTOS OF DAMAGED SECTION OF SOUTHWEST
AIRLINES 737 FUSELAGE

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In its continuing investigation of the Southwest Airlines
737-300 (N387SW) that experienced a rapid decompression
during a flight from Nashville to Baltimore on July 13,
2009, NTSB Acting Chairman Mark V. Rosenker has authorized
the release of two photographs showing the compromised
section of the area of the fuselage that failed in flight.

The damaged aircraft skin section was visually examined in
the NTSB's Materials Laboratory. The damage left a hole
measuring approximately 17 inches by 8 inches. The skin in
this area of the fuselage is 0.032 inches thick with an
additional 0.032 inch thick layer bonded to the interior
surface in selected areas.

Rosenker said that the initial visual examination found the
fractures in good condition and suitable for further
analysis. No significant corrosion or obvious pre-existing
mechanical damage was noted. A detailed metallurgical
examination of the skin section and the fracture surfaces
will be accomplished by the Safety Board in the coming days.

Southwest Airlines is now in the process of repairing the
aircraft at Yeager Airport, Charleston, West Virginia.

Section of fuselage skin facing inside the aircraft:
http://www.ntsb.gov/Pressrel/2009/SW-737-interior.jpg

Section of fuselage skin on exterior of aircraft
http://www.ntsb.gov/Pressrel/2009/SW-737-exterior.jpg

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Media Contact: Peter Knudson
peter.knudson@xxxxxxxx
(202) 314-6100

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