Investigators continue to look into what caused a hole in the fuselage of last week’s American Airlines’ Flight 1640 from Boston to Miami. The Boeing 575 was cruising along at 31,000 feet when 1-foot-by-2-foot hole opened in the upper part of the fuselage near a cabin door toward the front of the plane. Consequently, the plane lost cabin air pressure and the crew executed a successful emergency landing. According to American, all 154 passengers, and six crew were evacuated without incident. The jet is 20 years old and has had approximately 22,000 takeoffs and landings.
NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said, "We'll be looking at (metal) fatigue and mechanical issues and everything," to determine the cause.
American Airlines has removed the aircraft from service and has engineers and maintenance technicians investigating it along with Boeing, the NTSB and the FAA.
Officials have stated that Boeing is working on a service bulletin directing carriers to do more inspections of areas of older 757 aircraft currently in service.
The government could order airlines to ground 757s while they are checked, but officials said that was unlikely if Boeing determines that problems can be detected with visual inspections.
Airlines were allowed to keep flying last year after a similar incident involving a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737.