Alaska Airlines has decided to temporarily ground fleet Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft following an incident. Flight 1282, en route from Portland, Oregon, to Ontario, California, experienced a mid-air emergency when a window and a section of the fuselage blew out, compelling the pilot to make an emergency landing in Oregon.
The Boeing 737 Max 9, certified just two months ago, faced a critical situation as a window shattered mid-air, causing a loss of cabin pressure.
Reports suggest that a child’s shirt was torn off due to the decompression, and some passengers lost their phones as items were sucked out of the plane.
Oxygen masks deployed as the plane descended, and passengers remained calm during the emergency landing back in Portland.
Alaska Airlines, acknowledging the incident, announced the grounding of its 65 Boeing 737 Max 9 planes for safety inspections.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the event, with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also looking into the issue reported by the flight crew.
Witnesses described a loud bang and a sudden loss of the fuselage section, creating a scenario for those on board.
Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci expressed gratitude for the professionalism of the pilots and crew during the emergency.
Boeing, aware of the incident, stated that a technical team is ready to support the investigation. The Boeing 737 Max has faced challenges in recent years, with two high-profile crashes leading to a 20-month grounding globally.
The crashes were linked to a faulty system called MCAS, which has since been modified, and the aircraft was cleared to fly again in late 2020.
Boeing has urged airlines to inspect all 737 Max airplanes for issues, though it is unclear if this incident is related to previous concerns.
There were 177 passengers and crew members on board the flight, and the aircraft landed safely back in Portland. Fortunately, no serious injuries were reported among the passengers or crew.
Passengers described the experience, with oxygen masks deploying and items, including a child’s shirt and phones, being sucked out through the opening.
The affected area of the plane was behind the wing and engines, with images showing a clear gap in the fuselage.
Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci announced the temporary grounding of all 65 Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft in the airline’s fleet.
The decision is to conduct inspections and ensure the safety of the entire fleet before returning the aircraft to service.
Boeing, the aircraft manufacturer, stated that they are aware of the incident and are working closely with Alaska Airlines to gather more information. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is conducting an investigation into the incident.
The Boeing 737 Max series has faced challenges in recent years, particularly after two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019 led to a worldwide grounding of the aircraft for 20 months. The crashes were linked to a faulty system called MCAS, which has since undergone modifications.