US jet liner forced to land after hole develops in fuselage

A Southwest Airlines flight en route from Phoenix to Sacramento was forced to make an emergency landing Friday after the cabin lost pressure due to a hole in the fuselage.

The Boeing 737 made a rapid controlled descent from 36,000 feet to 11,000 feet when the cabin experienced pressure failure, said a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The hole, which, according to passengers onboard Flight 812, was around 3 to 4 feet in length, necessitated an emergency landing at a military base in Yuma, Arizona.

Passenger Greg Hansen, who spoke to CNN, reported a popping sound for a few minutes before the hole blew out with a sound like an “explosion”.

“The pilots did a great job and were under control to get us to a manageable level,” said Hansen.

A statement from Southwest Airlines said that crew onboard the plane “discovered” a hole, adding that a new aircraft, along with maintenance, ground crew and customer service agents had been sent to the air base to provide support to passengers and carry out an investigation.

The airline is reportedly treating 1 of the 118 passengers for minor injuries.

The FAA has refused to speculate on what may have caused the incident and is also conducting an investigation.

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