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DOJ criminal probe launched after Alaska Airlines midair door blowout

Passengers and crew on the Jan. 5 fight — which made an emergency landing after a panel ripped off during flight — were reportedly contacted.
DOJ criminal probe launched after Alaska Airlines midair door blowout
Posted at 5:52 PM, Mar 09, 2024

A criminal probe has been launched by the U.S. Department of Justice to examine an Alaska Airlines-operated Boeing 737 MAX midair door blowout incident that happened in early January, according to multiple reports citing people familiar with the matter and documents. 

According to new details, crew members and passengers on the flight were contacted by investigators to gather more information about the Jan. 5 flight which made an emergency landing in Portland, Ore. after a portion of the fuselage was ripped off the jet while it was still in the air. 

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Alaska Airlines said in a statement, "We are fully cooperating and do not believe we are a target of the investigation."

Boeing didn't immediately  comment on the matter. 

According to details on the incident, a door plug panel blew off the Alaska Airlines-operated flight just after take off from Portland forcing pilots to quickly land the plane safely. 

There were no serious injuries caused by the incident, which could have potentially been catastrophic if the panel blew out at a higher altitude. 

Boeing said the company wasn't able to locate repair records for the plane. According to reports, the rivet repair records — that include photos — showed that multiple bolts that would secure the door plug were apparently not installed. An NTSB preliminary investigation showed it's possible the jet was put into service by Boeing without a plug bolted down. 

When the Jan. 5 flight's door plug blew out, passengers were exposed to the air outside through the gaping hole in the side of the plane as if flew thousands of feet above ground. 

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