Window Of Passenger Plane Blows Out Mid-Air
January 6, 2024
The window of a passenger plane has blown out mid-air, forcing it to make an emergency landing in the US state of Oregon.
Kiin Media gathers that the Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 turned back 35 minutes into its flight to California after an outer section, including a window, fell off on Friday.
The plane, however, landed safely in Portland with all 177 passengers and crew who were on board.
The airline said it would temporarily ground all 65 of its 737 Max 9 aircraft to conduct inspections.
Meanwhile, Boeing said it was aware of the incident and was “working to gather more information”.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority, on the other hand, said it was “monitoring the situation very closely”.
One of the 171 passengers on board, Evan Smith said, “There was a really loud bang towards the left rear of the plane and a woosh noise – and all the air masks dropped.
“They said there was a kid in that row whose shirt was sucked off him and out of the plane and his mother was holding onto him to make sure he didn’t go with it.”
Diego Murillo said the gap was “as wide as a refrigerator”.
Another passenger Elizabeth Lee added: “Part of the plane was missing and the wind was just extremely loud. but everyone was in their seats and had their belt on.”
Alaska Airlines’ CEO Ben Minicucci, while announcing the grounding of the 65 planes, said, “Each aircraft will be returned to service only after completion of full maintenance and safety inspections.”
According to flight tracking data, the flight to Ontario, California, had reached 16,000ft (4,876m) when it began its emergency descent.
Images sent to news outlets show the night sky visible through the gap in the fuselage, with insulation material and other debris also seen.
Other pictures show the seat closest to the affected section, a window seat that passengers said was unoccupied, leaning forward without its cushion.
Minicucci said, “My heart goes out to those who were on this flight – I am so sorry for what you experienced.
“I am so grateful for the response of our pilots and flight attendants.”
The section of fuselage involved appears to be an area that can be used as an additional emergency exit door by some operators, but not by Alaska.
On its part, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 “returned safely… after the crew reported a pressurisation issue”.
Boeing noted that a “technical team stands ready to support the investigation”.
The seat immediately next to the broken fuselage was said by passengers to be unoccupied.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is also investigating the incident.