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Southwest Airlines sends passengers $5,000 after deadly emergency landing

Clark Mindock

Southwest Airlines has sent passengers who were on the deadly flight that made an emergency landing earlier this week $5,000 checks, and $1,000 flight vouchers to help pay for “immediate financial needs”.

The checks were delivered alongside an apology letter from the airline, which was rated as the safest commercial flight provider in the world until the left side engine on Flight 1380 from New York to Dallas ripped apart, leaving a woman dead, and forcing the aircraft to make an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport.

There were 144 passengers, and five crew members, on the flight when the incident occurred Tuesday. Jennifer Riordan, a 43-year-old mother of two and bank executive died from injuries she sustained after she was partially blown out of a window that was shattered by the engine explosion.

Payments like the one Southwest made are not unusual for the circumstances, CNN analyst and transportation lawyer Mary Schiavo said on that cable news network.

“It gets money in the hands of people that need it for counselling or something,” Ms Schiavo said.

The letter says that the airline’s “primary focus is to assist you in every way possible”, and was signed by Southwest Airlines president Gary C Kelly.

“We value you as our Customer and hope you will allow us another opportunity to restore your confidence in Southwest as the airline you can count on for your travel needs,” Mr Kelly wrote. “In this spirit, we are sending you a check in the amount of $5000 to cover any of your immediate financial needs. As a tangible gesture of our heartfelt sincerity, we are also sending you a $1,000 travel voucher (in a separate e-mail), which can be used for future travel.”

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the root cause of the engine failure, and investigators have said that a broken rotor blade led to the catastrophe.

Investigators have said that it is possible that an undetectable crack — or at least one that is undetectable to the human eye — may have initially caused the rotor blade to break.