Southwest Checking Planes After Hole Opens in Aircraft

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Passengers on a Southwest Airlines plane applauded and hugged the pilot for a safe emergency landing in West Virginia after a football-sized hole appeared in the fuselage.

Passengers Brian Cunningham told NBC's "Today" show Tuesday that he was dozing on the flight and was awakened by a loud roar.  Charleston, W.Va., airport spokesman Brian Belcher says passengers on the 737 aircraft could see the outside through the 1-foot-by-1-foot hole in the rear of the plane.

The cabin lost pressure, but no one was injured. The plane, which originated in Nashville and was headed to Baltimore, landed safely Monday evening.  It's not clear what caused the damage.

Southwest Airlines Co. spokeswoman Marilee McInnis says the company was inspecting all of its 737-300s as a precaution.