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A reminder of Aloha Air tragedy

The ripping of a 5-foot hole in the roof of a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-300 last Friday is spawning comparisons with the 18-foot-long roof piece of an Aloha Airlines Boeing 737-200 being torn away inflight 23 years ago.

The detachment of Aloha’s roof section was blamed by the National Transportation Safety Board on “significant disbonding and fatigue damage,” resulting in the separation of the upper fuselage on April 28, 1988. Flight attendant Clarabelle Lansing was tragically ejected from the open aircraft at 24,000 feet.

The NTSB said damage to the Southwest jet at nearly 35,000 feet was caused by fatigue cracks in the aluminum underskin of the plane’s lap joints. Time and investigation will tell if this mishap will spawn major overhaul of  maintenance and inspection regs, as did the Aloha Air tragedy.

A show of support for Japan

Amid all the curses of its current triple tragedy, Japan can count on a few blessings, including a heartwarming show of aloha from Hawaii. The ties that bind our islands with Japan can be seen in the outpouring of donations for the survivors of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crises. In two weeks, more than $1 million was raised here.

This is no reason to rest on our laurels, of course. Among the myriad efforts: The website for Sunday’s Kokua for Japan benefit concert says tickets are sold out (, though donations are still being taken there.

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