Southwest flight loses engine cover, returns to Denver

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-800 aircraft suffered a significant mechanical issue during takeoff from Denver International Airport on Sunday, April 7, 2024.

Flight WN-3695, bound for Houston Hobby Airport with 135 passengers and six crew members on board, departed Denver around 7:49 a.m. local time.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the access doors or engine cowling from the right engine fell off during takeoff and struck the wing flap.

Air traffic control audio revealed that several passengers and crew heard a loud noise from the impact.

The pilots discontinued the climb at around 10,300 feet and immediately returned to Denver, safely landing on runway 34L approximately 25 minutes after departure at 8:15 a.m. No injuries were reported.

“Southwest Airlines Flight 3695 returned safely to Denver International airport around 8:15 a.m. local time on Sunday, April 7, after the crew reported the engine cowling fell off during takeoff and struck the wing flap. The Boeing 737-800 was towed to the gate. The aircraft was headed to William P. Hobby Airport in Houston. The FAA will investigate. Please contact the airline for additional information.”

United States Federal Aviation Administration

The aircraft involved, registration N8668A, entered service in June 2015, according to FAA records.

Southwest stated that maintenance teams are reviewing the aircraft but did not provide details on its most recent maintenance.

According to the airline, passengers were re-accommodated on a different Boeing 737-800 (N8523W) and arrived in Houston approximately 3 hours behind schedule.

“We apologize for the inconvenience of their delay, but place our highest priority on ultimate safety for our customers and employees.”

Southwest Airlines

The FAA has initiated an investigation into the incident, which is the latest in a series of mechanical issues affecting various Boeing aircraft across airlines in recent months.

According to CNN, Boeing declined to comment directly, deferring to Southwest for information on aircraft and fleet operations.

Source: CNN, Reuters, The Aviation Herald

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