Parts didn't breach failed airline engine's casing

WASHINGTON (AP) - The outer casing of an engine that failed aboard a Spirit Airlines plane earlier this week wasn't breached by parts from inside the engine, contrary to initial reports provided to the National Transportation Safety Board, the board said Thursday.

A board official had said earlier that the engine experienced an "uncontained" failure, meaning pieces pierced the outer housing of the engine. That's especially dangerous because the pieces can spray like shrapnel, damaging the plane.

However, after NTSB investigators examined the engine at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the board released a statement saying the engine casing wasn't pierced. The International Aero Engines V2500 engine will be shipped to a separate facility for a detailed examination and disassembly. The Federal Aviation Administration, Spirit Airlines and International Aero Engines are parties to the investigation.

Engines are designed so that if fan blades or other parts break during flight the pieces will remain inside the engine casing or be released out the back with exhaust where they are unlikely to cause damage.

According to Spirit, Flight 165 was en route from Dallas to Atlanta on Tuesday when there was smoke in the cabin and the pilot shut down one engine.

Passenger Fred Edwards told WGCL-TV in Atlanta that he heard an explosion before flames came up the side of the plane, lighting up the interior of the Airbus A319. He and other passengers reported that smoke then filled the cabin.

The plane returned to Dallas, where it landed safely.

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Follow Joan Lowy on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/AP_Joan_Lowy


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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