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Southwest Airlines flight attendant breaks back after hard landing

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Associated Press

Associated Press

A Southwest Airlines flight prepares to land at Reagan National Airport, in Arlington, Va., Monday, Dec. 27, 2021.
December South prepares to land at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia on Monday, December. West Airlines Flight. 27, 2021. Photo by Jacquelyn Martin /THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

DALLAS — Southwest Airlines' flight attendants suffered a compression fracture to a vertebra in her upper back during a hard landing in California last month, according to federal safety investigators.

The impact of the landing was so violent that the flight attendants thought the plane had crashed.

The Safety Board completed an investigation without revealing the cause of the hard loading.

The NTSB said John He of Santa Ana, Calif., and her 141 other people who were on board the plane in the accident at Wayne Airport were not injured.

The pilot told investigators that he was aiming for the zone, a normal touchdown on a relatively short runway.

"But it ended up being a safe landing," the NTSB said in its final report on Friday.

Dallas-based Southwest said in a statement Monday that it had "reported the issue to the NTSB in accordance with regulatory requirements and conducted an internal review of the event."

An airline spokesperson was asked about the results of the internal investigation and whether the plane had been inspected for evidence of possible damage during the hard landing. He declined to provide any further information when the plane flew several times a day, according to tracking services.

Shortly after the 18-year-old Boeing 737-700 took off from the runway, the pilots (the 55-year-old captain and his 49-year-old co-pilot) were informed of the captain's injuries. A flight attendant sitting in the back seat of an airplane.

His NTSB, who did not go to the scene of the accident, has not released the documents of the investigation.

The runway the plane landed on is only 5,700 feet (1,700 meters) long. By comparison, the runways at nearby Los Angeles International Airport range from 8,900 to nearly 13,000 feet (2,700 to 3,900 meters).

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