Shortly after taking off over three miles (4 kilometers) over Oregon, an Alaska Airlines aircraft lost a window and a portion of its fuselage, leaving an enormous hole that sucked in a child’s clothing and forcing the pilots to make an emergency landing while the 174 passengers and the six crew members put on oxygen masks.
About 20 minutes after takeoff, the depressurized plane made a safe return to Portland International Airport on Friday night, with no significant injuries reported.
However, Alaska Airlines grounded its 65 Boeing 737-9 Max planes until they could be examined. On Saturday, the National Transportation Safety Board declared that it would launch an investigation into the issue as well.
A few minutes after takeoff from Portland, where the plane made an emergency landing, the panel blew, causing a loud “boom” or “pop” sound, according to some of the 174 passengers on the trip. A howl of wind entered the cabin after the explosion.
A traveler reported to NBCLA that all was well until they heard a loud “boom” or “bang.” He continued by saying that he looked to his left and saw a sizable hole where the window should be.
He claimed that initially, he believed it to be the emergency door, but it was a section of the wall that had blown out rather than a door.
A traveler Evan Smith reported that there was a huge blast in the left rear, a whistle, and an instant after, everyone was wearing oxygen masks.
The pilot informed air traffic control that they were in an emergency, that they were depressurized, that they needed to turn around, and that they had 177 passengers after receiving permission to descend. The fuel, he continued, was eighteen-eight.
According to the government, the temporary grounding affects about 171 aircraft globally and applies to aircraft operated by American carriers or on American soil. The regulator estimates that each airplane inspection will take four to eight hours.
Although this kind of incident is uncommon, the airline stated that the safety of both its customers and staff is always their top priority. As a result, their flight crew was equipped and educated to handle the scenario safely.
According to FlightAware, the aircraft of Alaska Airlines descended to a height of roughly 16,000 feet after six minutes of flight.
This kind of aircraft has a rear emergency exit door that is mostly utilized by international carriers, and it is configured with seats that can accommodate more people.
The majority of American airplanes are not configured that way; instead, they are made to look like windows from the inside of the aircraft.
Due to the FAA’s order, United Airlines said that it would be discontinuing the operation of certain of its Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft.
The airline said in a statement that 33 of the 79 Max 9s it has in operation have previously undergone inspections. According to the airline, 60% of its Saturday cancellations were anticipated to be related to the planes being taken out of service.
In a statement, the airline stated that they were assisting the affected clients directly in locating other travel arrangements.
Officials Statements On Alaska Airlines’ Incident
Boeing acknowledged knowledge of the Alaska Airlines incident in a statement.
Boeing stated that they were in contact with their airline customer and were working to obtain more information. A Boeing technical team is prepared to assist in the probe, according to Boeing.
Pete Buttigieg, the secretary of transportation, stated on X on Saturday am that he had been informed about the event from yesterday night and would be keeping close communication with the FAA over the response.
Both Alaska Airlines and the FAA declared that they were looking into the event. A Go Team from the National Transportation Safety Board has been dispatched to Portland to look into the event.