May 31, 1995 in Nation/World

Airliner Returns After Hole Found In Wing

Compiled From Wire Services

An airliner carrying 164 passengers to Chicago turned back 15 minutes into its flight Tuesday after a passenger spotted a hole a little bigger than a football in the left wing.

None of the crew or passengers aboard American Airlines Flight 682 was injured, said David Wilson, a spokesman for San Francisco International Airport.

Crew members found the covering on a slat in the middle of the wing had come off, taking a chunk of the slat with it and leaving a hole about 18 inches long, said airline spokesman Tim Smith. A bird hitting the wing was probably the cause, he said.

When raised, slats help slow an aircraft during landings.

“It’s aerodynamic. It doesn’t affect the structure of the wing and it doesn’t present any danger,” Smith said.

The Boeing 767 dumped some of its fuel and returned to the San Francisco airport without incident.

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