Cracks found in 3 more planes: NTSB investigating cause of incident

Federal records show cracks were found and repaired a year ago in the Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-300 that made an emergency landing Friday.

YUMA, Ariz. — Inspectors have found small, subsurface cracks in three more Southwest Airlines planes that are similar to those suspected of causing a jetliner to lose pressure and make a harrowing emergency landing in Arizona, a federal investigator said Sunday.

Southwest said in statement that two of its Boeing 737-700s had cracks and will be evaluated and repaired before they are returned to service. A National Transportation Safety Board member told The Associated Press later Sunday that a third plane had been found with cracks developing.

The cracks found in the three planes developed in two lines of riveted joints that run the length of the aircraft.

Nineteen other Boeing 737-300 planes inspected using a special test developed by the manufacturer showed no problems and will be returned to service. Checks on nearly 60 other jets are expected to be completed by late Tuesday. That means flight cancellations will likely continue until the planes are back in the air. About 600 flights in all were canceled over the weekend.

About 300 Southwest flights were canceled across the nation on both Saturday and Sunday as the airline inspected about 80 planes similar to the one that developed the hole.

The Post and Courier reported that no flights in Charleston were affected Saturday. The information desk at the Charleston International Airport was not aware of any canceled flights Sunday but referred questions to the airline. A message left with the airline's 24-hour media spokesman Sunday afternoon was not returned.

The Post and Courier contributed to this report.