Southwest Airlines: Cracks found in 2 more planes - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Southwest Airlines: Cracks found in 2 more planes

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In this photo provided by passenger Christine Ziegler, shows an apparent hole in the cabin on a Southwest Airlines aircraft Friday, April 1, 2011 in Yuma, Ariz. (AP photo/Christine Ziegler) In this photo provided by passenger Christine Ziegler, shows an apparent hole in the cabin on a Southwest Airlines aircraft Friday, April 1, 2011 in Yuma, Ariz. (AP photo/Christine Ziegler)

YUMA, Ariz. (AP) — Southwest Airlines says inspectors have found cracks similar to those that caused an airplane to lose pressure and make an emergency landing have been found in two more of its planes.

Southwest says in a statement Sunday that small, subsurface cracks were found in the two planes. The airline says inspectors will evaluate further and more repairs will be performed before the planes are returned to service.

A flight carrying 118 people rapidly lost cabin pressure after the plane's fuselage ruptured — causing a 5-foot-long tear — just after takeoff from Phoenix on Friday. Pilots made a controlled descent from 34,400 feet into Yuma, Ariz. No was injured.

Authorities say inspectors have found evidence of extensive cracking that hadn't been discovered during routine maintenance before Friday's flight.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

This is a story update. The previous story is below.

NEW YORK (AP) — Southwest Airlines cancelled about 600 flights this weekend as the airline continues its inspection of 79 of its Boeing 737 aircraft, in the aftermath of an emergency landing of one of its planes on Friday.

The airline cancelled 300 flights Sunday after cancelling the same number on Saturday. Southwest Airlines spokeswoman Whitney Eichinger says it still hasn't made a decision about Monday's flights.

"We are working as diligently as possible to minimize any impact on (customers') travel plans," Eichinger told The Associated Press Sunday.

Southwest normally has about 3,400 flights each day though it's slightly reduced on Saturday. That means that almost 9 percent of the total number of flights were cancelled each of the two days. No flights were cancelled on Friday.

The aircraft is being inspected over the next several days, the company said.

No one was seriously injured Friday as the aircraft carrying 118 people rapidly lost cabin pressure and made a harrowing but controlled descent from 34,500 feet, landing safely near Yuma, Ariz., 150 miles southwest of Phoenix. But passengers recalled tense minutes after a hole ruptured overhead with a blast, and they fumbled frantically for oxygen masks as the plane descended.

In a release issued Saturday, Southwest said the passengers on board Flight 812 have received a full refund along with an apology and two complimentary round-trip passes on Southwest for future flights.

On Sunday, federal investigators examining the damaged plane in Yuma said the entire length of a 5-foot-long tear in the skin of the aircraft shows evidence of pre-existing fatigue cracking.

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Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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