Door Blowout Forces Emergency Landing of Alaska Airlines Flight, Prompts Temporary Grounding and Inspections of Boeing 737 Max 9 Planes

PORTLAND, Oregon – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ordered the grounding and inspections of specific Boeing 737 Max 9 planes following an emergency landing made by an Alaska Airlines flight on Friday night. The incident occurred when a door blew out mid-flight, forcing the flight to return to Portland International Airport. Jennifer Homendy, the Chair of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), described the event as an “accident, not an incident.”

Flight 1282, with a destination of Ontario, California, experienced rapid decompression after a “mid-cabin door plug … departed the airplane,” said Homendy. The cause of the accident has not been determined and Homendy refrained from speculating about it. Fortunately, the two adjoining seats next to the blown-out door were unoccupied.

The flight carried 171 passengers, two pilots, and four flight attendants. Although there were no serious injuries, some individuals did sustain minor injuries and received medical attention. Homendy expressed gratitude that the situation did not result in a more tragic outcome and acknowledged the potentially traumatic nature of the incident.

Had the door blown off at a higher altitude, the consequences could have been more severe. Cruising altitudes generally involve passengers moving around the cabin without seatbelts while flight attendants provide services. The FAA and the NTSB will collaborate with Boeing, Alaska Airlines, the Airline Pilots Association, and the Association of Flight Attendants to investigate the incident.

The blown-out door has yet to be located, but it is believed to be somewhere in the Cedar Mills suburb of western Portland. The airline has stated that each aircraft will undergo complete maintenance and safety inspections before returning to service. In response to the incident, the FAA has issued a directive mandating safety inspections for all 171 Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft currently in operation globally.

The investigation into the incident will commence on Sunday, with the goal of gathering facts surrounding the accident. The FAA, Boeing, Alaska Airlines, the Airline Pilots Association, and the Association of Flight Attendants will contribute to this fact-finding stage.