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Video/Pic: Plane loses door mid-flight, forced to make emergency landing

Terminal 2 at the San Diego Int'l Airport. (Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)
January 08, 2024

An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 airplane was forced to conduct an emergency landing Friday night at Portland International Airport after the emergency door exit of the plane was blown out of the aircraft, causing a depressurization during the flight.

According to KPTV, the Alaska Airlines flight departed from Portland at 4:40 p.m. and was heading to Ontario, California; however, it was forced to make an emergency landing at roughly 5:30 p.m. in Portland. Alaska Airlines confirmed that the airplane had 174 passengers and six crew members.

While no serious injuries were reported, one of the airplane’s passengers told KPTV that a child located near the section of the plane that blew out during the flight had to be held down by his mother.

One of the airplane’s passengers shared a video of the incident on social media. In the video, the passenger can be heard explaining that none of the passengers had been sitting directly next to the door of the plane that blew off mid-flight.

Vi Nguyen, 22, one of the Alaska Airlines passengers, shared her account of the traumatic experience with The New York Times.

“I open up my eyes and the first thing I see is the oxygen mask right in front of me. And I look to the left and the wall on the side of the plane is gone,” she said. “The first thing I thought was, ‘I’m going to die.'”

A picture of the missing section of the side of the plane was posted on social media by Kyle Rinker.

The New York Times reported that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered U.S. airlines to ground additional Boeing 737 Max 9 airplanes following Friday night’s incident.

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“Safety is our top priority and we deeply regret the impact this event has had on our customers and their passengers,” Jessica Kowal, a Boeing spokeswoman, said in a statement released on social media. “We agree with and fully support the FAA’s decision to require immediate inspections of 737-9 airplanes with the same configuration as the affected airplane.”

Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci also released a statement following the incident, explaining, “Each aircraft will be returned to service only after completion of full maintenance and safety inspections.”

Minicucci added, “My heart goes out to those who were on this flight – I am so sorry for what you experienced.”

Alaska Airlines noted that the incident is currently under investigation and that additional information will be released in the coming days.