Nashville/ Transportation & Infrastructure
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Published on April 20, 2024
Southwest Flight to Sacramento Returns to St. Louis Over Engine Problem, FAA to InvestigateSource: Werner Lehmann, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A Southwest Airlines flight bound for Sacramento was forced to make an abrupt U-turn on Friday, returning to St. Louis Lambert International Airport shortly after takeoff due to an identified engine problem. Flight 5907, with passengers aboard the Boeing 737-800, had initially departed at 2:52 p.m. and was airborne for a mere 37 minutes before the incident unfolded, as confirmed by WSMV.

An engine issue was the catalyst for this mid-flight reversal, a situation deemed serious enough for the crew to bring the plane back to its origin point, the nature of the situation necessitating a swift and unforeseen change in course, prompting an investigation from the Federal Aviation Administration which in a statement obtained by First Alert 4 said that "Southwest Airlines flight 5907 returned and landed safely at St. Louis Lambert International Airport around 3:30 pm local time on Friday, April 19, after the crew reported an engine issue." The FAA has pledged to look further into the matter.

Aircraft safety is paramount and this became evident when the Southwest spokesperson stated the involved aircraft would be removed from service for a meticulous examination, ensuring its passengers would be accommodated on an alternative flight, reports of prior travels emerging that the aircraft, before the St. Louis takeoff, had made a previous stop in Nashville, Tennessee.

Among those aboard was Carol Dahmen-Eckery who recounted hearing a "loud boom" which even "rocked the plane a little bit," a tense moment she described during an interview with KCRA 3, adding that although there was an initial shock, the passengers managed to remain remarkably continent, thanks partly to the swift actions of the crew. Her husband Kevin Eckery noted post-landing activities consisted of awaiting fire crews inspection of the aircraft's brakes "and make sure there were no flames and it was fine." The calm approach by the flight crew and passengers alike despite the mid-air distress signaled a collective vote for safety above all.