An Alaskan Airlines plane was forced to make an emergency landing after a section of the aircraft blew out mid-flight. Following the terrifying incident, Alaskan Airlines has taken the precautionary step of grounding its entire fleet of Boeing 737-9 Max aircraft.
Dramatic video and photos have emerged from Alaskan Airlines Flight 1282 – which was traveling from Portland International Airport to Ontario, California. The Boeing 737-9 Max was transporting six crew members and 171 passengers, and took off shortly before 5 p.m. on Friday.
The plane was airborne for about 20 minutes until “the crew reported a pressurization issue,” according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
During the flight, a section of the plane’s fuselage fell off – including the panel’s window. Luckily, no passengers were sitting in the window seat next to the huge opening.
The sudden damage to the airliner caused cell phones belonging to passengers to be sucked out of the gaping hole in the plane.
A child sitting relatively close to the damaged part of the airliner lost his shirt because of the vacuum of the damaged plane.
Video shows oxygen masks deployed throughout the plane.
A photo of the alarming occurrence was captured by passenger Kyle Rinker.
“It was really abrupt. Just got to altitude, and the window/wall just popped off and didn’t notice it until the oxygen masks came off,” Rinker told CNN.
Passenger Evan Smith told KPTV, “There was a really loud bang toward the rear of the plane, and a whoosh noise, and all of the masks dropped.”
Flight 1282 made an emergency landing at Portland International Airport at 5:27 p.m., according to FlightAware.
The Port of Portland Fire Department responded to the emergency landing and noted that one person received medical treatment but no serious injuries were reported.
Alaskan Airlines said in a statement, “The safety of our guests and employees is always our primary priority. So while this type of occurrence is rare, our flight crew was trained and prepared to safely manage the situation.”
Alaskan Airlines grounded its entire fleet of Boeing 737-9 Max aircraft.
Alaskan Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci said of the incident:
At Alaska Airlines, safety is our foundational value and the most important thing we focus on every day. Following tonight’s event on Flight 1282, we have decided to take the precautionary step of temporarily grounding our fleet of 65 Boeing 737-9 aircraft. Each aircraft will be returned to service only after completion of full maintenance and safety inspections. We anticipate all inspections will be completed in the next few days. I am personally committed to doing everything we can to conduct this review in a timely and transparent way. We are working with Boeing and regulators to understand what occurred tonight, and will share updates as more information is available.
Boeing said in a statement, “We are aware of the incident involving Alaska Airlines Flight 1282. We are working to gather more information and are in contact with our airline customer.”
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are launching investigations into the situation with the Boeing 737-9 Max aircraft.
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