Southwest flight from Midway makes emergency landing in Cleveland after cracked window

CLEVELAND (WLS) -- A Southwest flight from Midway Airport was diverted to Cleveland Wednesday morning after a window cracked mid-flight, according to the FAA.

Southwest Flight 957 was headed to Newark Liberty International Airport when it made an emergency landing at Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport for "maintenance review of one of the multiple layers of a window pane," according to Southwest. The airline notes that each window has multiple layers of panes.

The plane, which carried 76 passengers, landed successfully and there were no reports of depressurization, Southwest said. No injuries were reported.

In a statement, Southwest said: "The flight landed uneventfully in Cleveland. The aircraft has been taken out of service for maintenance review, and our local Cleveland Employees are working diligently to accommodate the 76 Customers on a new aircraft to Newark."

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Photos from inside the plane show the aftermath of a window crack on a Southwest flight from Chicago to Newark.

Eliott Wolbrom, of Staten Island, New York, said he received a WhatsApp group chat message at about 10:40 a.m. from passenger Hirsch Chinn, a relative who lives in a Chicago suburb, as events unfolded mid-air.

"All good so far. A few crying passengers. I reassured the flight attendants 'no one is dying today,'" Chinn's message read in part.

"I'm praying inside... I'm panicking to an extent internally. There's nothing you can do," recalled Wolbrom of his reaction to reading Chinn's note, adding "Hearing a loved one and a family member telling me that they're in that situation in real time... It was surreal."

Chinn later sent Wolbrom several photos of the cracked window, which appears to have jagged edges. Wolbrom said Chinn checked in before take-off aboard the new flight out of Cleveland and that he believes Chinn and his family are ok.

"Your mind can't help but go back to two weeks ago," Wolbrom said during his reflection of this morning's incident.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.

Wednesday afternoon, passengers were emailed $500 vouchers for future use.


The incident occurred about two weeks after a 43-year-old woman was partially sucked out of Southwest Airlines plane after debris from an engine explosion blew out the window.

Jennifer Riordan, 43, was the first person to die on an American airline in almost 10 years in the April 17 incident. The plane, destined for Dallas, had taken off from LaGuardia International Airport in New York when the engine blew about 20 minutes into the flight. The pilot managed to safely land the plane in Philadelphia.

Last week, passenger Lilia Chavez filed a lawsuit against Southwest Airlines, GE Aviation, Safran Aircraft Engines and CFM International, a supplier of jet engines, in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. She alleges "mental anguish" as a result of the incident.

Chavez was sitting three rows behind where Riordan was partially sucked out the window, the lawsuit says.

"Ms. Chavez witnessed the horror as the force of the depressurization pulled an innocent passenger partially through the shattered window and she watched as passengers risked their lives to pull the passenger back into the aircraft and save her life," the lawsuit says.

According to Chavez, the cabin became "a whirlwind of airflow and airborne debris which struck Ms. Chavez and obstructed her breathing."

In a letter to passengers on the April 17 flight, which was obtained by ABC News, the airline offered sincere apologies as well as a $5,000 check and the promise of a $1,000 travel voucher.

NTSB investigators are looking into the accident in Washington, D.C., and expect to announce a probable cause and more safety recommendations in 12 to 15 months. Southwest pilot Tammie Jo Shults, a former Navy fighter pilot, was called a "true American hero" by one passenger for being able to safely land the crippled plane.

Meanwhile, airlines are under an order to inspect engines like the one that failed on Flight 1380 by May 10.

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