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Southwest Flight Diverted For Hole In Roof

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Credit: Shawna MalviniRedden

Credit: Shawna MalviniRedden

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Update 4/2/11 – 2:05 pm

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Friday was a rough day in the skies for both North Texas-based airlines.

A Southwest Airlines jet from Phoenix to Sacramento had to divert to Yuma, Arizona Friday afternoon, just hours after an American Airlines flight had to land in Ohio.

The Southwest flight from Phoenix to Sacramento made the landing after the cabin of the Boeing 737 lost pressure.  After landing, the flight crew found a hole in the top of the plane.

None of the 118 passengers on board were injured, but one flight attendant was treated for a minor injury, according to the airline. The passengers were boarded onto another plane that has since departed for California.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines faced a similar but so far unconnected incident in 2009.  A hole was discovered in the roof of a 737 that made an emergency landing in West Virginia in July of that year. The 2009 incident led to an order by Boeing and the NTSB for all airlines to increase inspections of older 737’s

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Meanwhile, two American Airlines flight attendants reported dizziness and four passengers fainted aboard a Friday morning flight from Washington D.C. to Chicago Friday, forcing the pilot to drop the jet’s oxygen masks and land in Dayton, Ohio, an airline spokesman said.

All 132 people on board walked off the Boeing 737 after it landed at Dayton International Airport, but two passengers and a flight attendant were taken to hospitals, airline spokesman Ed Martelle said.

The two passengers were able to return to the airport and accompanied their fellow passengers on a replacement plane to Chicago. The flight attendant was admitted for overnight observation, airline spokesman Tim Smith said.

Christina Saull, a passenger from Washington, said there had been problems with the air conditioning and cabin-pressurization system before the plane took off, and maintenance personnel went into the cockpit of the plane on the ground in Washington, the Dayton Daily News reported.

>>Click here to see Christina’s photo from inside the plane<<

After the flight took off, two women passed out and passengers started complaining about fumes or being lightheaded, Saull told the newspaper. Saull said she didn’t smell anything, but a few minutes later, “they were announcing they were going to drop the masks.”

Martelle said he wasn’t able to confirm any of the details provided by the passenger, but he said the Fort Worth-based airline was investigating to determine the cause of the problems.

Dayton airport Director Terrence Slaybaugh said the pilot alerted the airport that some passengers were “complaining about the air and were experiencing some discomfort.”

The NTSB and the FAA are investigating both flights.  The NTSB says they will launching a ‘Go Team’ to investigate the Southwest flight, which they are calling a fuselage rupture.  On Saturday, the airline grounded a small number of their 737 fleet.  Ultimately, 79 planes were grounded, causing approximately 300 flights to be delayed across the country.

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