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Hole Blows Open in Boston-Bound Boeing 757, Forces Emergency Landing

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Miami, FLPassengers aboard Boston-bound American Airlines Flight 1640 are grateful to be alive, having narrowly avoided a plane crash shortly after take-off at Miami International airport Tuesday night.

The Boeing 757, carrying 154 passenger and six crew members, began to rapidly lose pressure as a result of a 1 foot by 2 foot hole that opened up in the fuselage near the front of the aircraft.

"All of a sudden it was just this decline in the plane. It was descending really fast, really loud. Lights were going on and off. Noises were going on and off. People were hysterical around us. They were crying," Edward Croce is quoted as saying in a report on CBSNews.com. The pilots were able to turn the plane around and make a successful landing at Miami International.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the incident, and a team of engineers has been assigned to inspect the plane. Boeing is also working on a service bulletin calling for increased inspection of that area of older 757 models. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that this incident bears some similarity to cracks found in the forward part of the fuselage of a United Airlines Boeing 757 in September.

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