Southwest Airlines CEO Discusses Chicago Midway Incident

DALLAS , Dec. 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Southwest Airlines' (NYSE: LUV)CEO Gary Kelly discussed the Chicago Midway incident this morning. Kelly extended Southwest's heartfelt sympathies to those who were directly affected by the events of last night.

"This is a sad day for us here," said Kelly. "There are no words to adequately convey our grief and sorrow over this tragedy. It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of a child who was in one of the vehicles hit by the aircraft. The entire Southwest family is grieving this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to the child's family."

Last night, Flight 1248 was involved in an incident at Chicago Midway Airport at approximately 7:15 p.m. CST while the aircraft, a Boeing 737-700, was landing. The aircraft veered off the runway and through the blast fence at the northwest corner of the runway -- stopping at the intersection of Central and 55th Avenues. The weather conditions at the time could be described as one-quarter to one-half mile visibility with snow. The flight, which was on arrival from Baltimore/Washington International Airport, was scheduled to continue on to Las Vegas and Salt Lake City .

Flights into and out of Chicago Midway were cancelled for the remainder of the evening and our Employees are working hard to reaccommodate those passengers that were affected. Southwest resumed operations at Chicago Midway at 6:00 a.m. this morning.

The majority of the 13 injured have been treated and released from local hospitals. Southwest is still collecting and verifying injury reports, but at this time we have three individuals who are still receiving treatment at local hospitals.

"Southwest will do everything in our power to provide information and comfort to those who have been affected," said Kelly. "It is still too early to speculate as to a cause before the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) can complete a thorough investigation."

Southwest Airlines Employees are in the process of contacting the families of the passengers and crewmembers as well as those affected on the ground. A team of 94 trained Southwest Employees arrived in Chicago at 3:25 a.m. CST this morning and are working closely with the NTSB and the FAA as they perform their investigations. Another Team of Southwest's top leadership is departing for Chicago Midway momentarily. Gary Kelly will conduct the next media briefing from Chicago .

Southwest Airlines' immediate concern is with those affected both on the aircraft and on the ground. Southwest Airlines Employees are in the process of contacting the families of passengers and crewmembers, as well as those affected on the ground. Southwest Airlines has deployed an aircraft of Employees to assist passengers of Flight 1248. Passenger names will not be released until the appropriate family members have been notified.

A toll-free number has been established by Southwest Airlines to assist friends and family members wanting information about passengers onboard Flight 1248. That number is (800) 922-9525. Periodic updates will also be posted on the Company's web site at http://www.southwest.com .

Passengers with specific questions on flights can call (800) 435-9792 or log on to http://www.southwest.com for updated information.

SOURCE Southwest Airlines


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