As flight engine cover falls off, plane bound for Houston forced to turn back to Denver; probe initated

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A Boeing 737-800 plane operated by Southwest Airlines and headed to Houston returned safely to Denver International Airport on Sunday after an engine cover fell off and struck the wing flap of the aircraft, CNN reported, citing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA said that it would investigate the matter.

In recorded air traffic control audio, one of the pilots said that “several passengers and flight attendants heard something loud hit the wing.” In a statement to CNN, Southwest said passengers will now take another flight to Houston and would be approximately three hours behind schedule.

The statement reads, “We apologize for the inconvenience of their delay but place our highest priority on ultimate Safety for our Customers and Employees.” It further said no injuries were reported, CNN reported. In a statement, Southwest said its maintenance teams will review the flight, which departed at 7:49 am (local time) and reached back at 8:15 am (local time).

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The plane reached an altitude of about 10,000 feet. According to FAA records, the plane was deemed airworthy in May 2015, according to CNN report. This is the latest incident of mechanical issues faced by Boeing aircraft across a range of airlines over the past several months even as the company has faced years of scrutiny regarding the safety of its planes.