Passengers hug pilot for safe landing despite hole

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Passengers on a Southwest Airlines
plane applauded and hugged the pilot for a safe emergency landing
in West Virginia after a football-sized hole appeared in the
fuselage.

Passenger Brian Cunningham said Tuesday that he was dozing on the flight and was awakened by a loud roar.

Charleston, W.Va., airport spokesman Brian Belcher says
passengers on the 737 aircraft could see the outside through the
1-foot-by-1-foot hole in the rear of the plane. The cabin lost
pressure, but no one was injured. The plane, which originated in
Nashville and was headed to Baltimore, landed safely Monday
evening.

It's not clear what caused the damage.

Southwest Airlines Co. spokeswoman Marilee McInnis says the
company was inspecting all of its 737-300s as a precaution.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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