Dem calls for aviation safety hearing after death on Southwest flight

Dem calls for aviation safety hearing after death on Southwest flight
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District of Columbia Del. Eleanor Holmes NortonEleanor Holmes NortonDems push to include contractor back pay in any shutdown deal Dem bill would let essential workers collect unemployment during shutdown DC and Puerto Rico share the long-ignored dream of statehood MORE (D) is pressing House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee lawmakers to hold an aviation safety hearing following the Tuesday fatality on a Southwest Airlines flight.

Norton requested the hearing in a letter to Committee Chairman Bill ShusterWilliam (Bill) Franklin ShusterExiting lawmakers jockey for K Street perch GOP struggles to win votes for Trump’s B wall demand House and Senate negotiators reach agreement on water infrastructure bill MORE (R-Pa.), ranking member Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioThis is your captain speaking: We can’t allow another government shutdown Aviation groups push bill that would fund FAA during shutdown With highway funding in decline, mileage-based fees offer a solution MORE (D-Ore.), Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondoFrank Alo LoBiondoLoBiondo launches consulting firm Live coverage: House elects new Speaker as Dems take charge The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — George H.W. Bush lies in state | NRCC suffers major hack | Crunch-time for Congress MORE (R-N.J.) and ranking member Rick LarsenRichard (Rick) Ray LarsenAviation groups push bill that would fund FAA during shutdown Transportation Department watchdog to examine airplane cabin evacuation standards Dems win nail-biter in charity congressional soccer game MORE (D-Wash.), citing Tuesday’s Southwest Airlines emergency landing and a “60 Minutes” story about mechanical problems on low-budget carrier Allegiant.

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“As we prepare to consider legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration, I believe we should ensure that aviation safety remains at the forefront of our efforts,” Norton wrote, referring to a recently unveiled five-year reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“Holding a hearing on this issue would allow us to gather valuable information and demonstrate our commitment to ensuring the safety of the millions of Americans who rely on our nation’s airlines each year,” she wrote.

Norton sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the aviation subcommittee.

The letter comes after a Southwest Airlines flight bound for Dallas Love Field Airport was forced to make an emergency landing after a piece of the engine broke off, shattered a window and partly pulled a female passenger out of the aircraft.

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chairman Robert Sumwalt said Tuesday that the blown engine had “metal fatigue.”

“Our preliminary examination of this was that there’s evidence of metal fatigue where the blade separated,” Sumwalt said at a press conference in Philadelphia. 

The safety agency is conducting an investigation into the incident and will hold another news conference Wednesday afternoon.

The incident occurred the same day an ExpressJet flight functioning as a Delta connection made an emergency landing at Washington, D.C.’s Dulles International Airport due to an issue with the aircraft’s wheels. No one was injured on that flight.