President Trump honors Southwest flight passengers, crew

- President Donald Trump honored the crew and passengers of the Southwest flight that suffered a deadly engine explosion in route from New York to Dallas.

During the Oval Office meeting on Tuesday, the president singled out the hero captain, Tammie Jo Shults, and also paid respects to Jennifer Riordan, the passenger of flight 1380 who was killed when shrapnel from the exploded engine blew out her window.

Southwest has been inspecting hundreds of engines on other planes for potential damage to fan blades that could cause catastrophic failure. The FAA is now expanding its emergency order to cover even more engines of the same model.

The president singled out three North Texans who he says acted with great bravery and character in a time of crisis. He also applauded the crew, especially the captain who calmly and safely landed the damaged and crippled aircraft.

"Captain Shults, I especially want to commend you for your life-saving actions,” Trump said. “Everybody is talking about it. They will be talking about it for a long time."

The president praised the crew and passengers who sprang into action last month when the Southwest Airlines flight blew an engine that ruptured the fuselage and killed one passenger and injured seven others.

Among those honored in the Oval Office were three North Texans: Celina firefighter Andrew Needham, Tim McGinty and retired nurse Peggy Phillips.

“Your bravery, your compassion… we really appreciate it.  Thank you all,” Trump said. “The actions of the crew and passengers of Southwest flight 1380 show the great character of our nation. We are very, very proud of them."

As President Trump gave accolades, the FAA ordered more inspections on engines like the one that blew out on flight 1380. Citing a "risk to the flying public,” the FAA directive now covers more than 3,700 engines on U.S. airplanes. It’s far more than the previous directive.

FAA Spokesman Lynn Lunsford says "it will… add new requirements for the initial inspections on the remaining engines that have not yet been inspected and add a new repetitive inspection for all engines."

Last week, Southwest Airlines reported that ongoing inspections of its fleet had only found one engine blade that needed to be replaced.

On Tuesday, Southwest Airlines Spokeswoman Brandy King said, "we do not have an updated count but... ...we are on track to meet our mid-may inspection deadline for the completion of all CFM56-7B engine fan blades."

The NTSB says its investigation into the engine failure of flight 1380 could take months to complete. The FAA will publish the new airworthiness directive on Wednesday. It's intended to supplement an emergency order that was put out days after the incident on flight 1380.

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