NTSB Identification: DCA11MA039
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO
Accident occurred Friday, April 01, 2011 in Yuma, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/26/2014
Aircraft: BOEING 737, registration: N632SW
Injuries: 1 Minor,121 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The Safety Board's full report is available at http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/reports_aviation.html. The Aircraft Accident Brief number is NTSB/AAB-13/02.

On April 1, 2011, about 1558 mountain standard time (MST), a Boeing 737-3H4, N632SW, operating as Southwest Airlines flight 812 experienced a rapid decompression while climbing through flight level 340. The flight crew conducted an emergency descent and diverted to Yuma International Airport (NYL), Yuma, Arizona. Of the 5 crewmembers and 117 passengers on board, one crewmember and one nonrevenue off-duty airline employee passenger sustained minor injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage; postaccident inspection revealed that a section of fuselage skin about 60 inches long by 8 inches wide had fractured and flapped open on the upper left side above the wing. The flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 121 as a regularly scheduled domestic passenger flight from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Phoenix, Arizona, to Sacramento International Airport, Sacramento, California.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

the improper installation of the fuselage crown skin panel at the S-4L lap joint during the manufacturing process, which resulted in multiple site damage fatigue cracking and eventual failure of the lower skin panel. Contributing to the injuries was flight attendant A's incorrect assessment of his time of useful consciousness, which led to his failure to follow procedures requiring immediate donning of an oxygen mask when cabin pressure is lost.

Full narrative available

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