Alaska Air passengers on flight that lost panel may be victims of crime: FBI

The incident is currently under investigation by the FBI.


Passengers aboard the Alaska Airlines flight that experienced a terrifying mid-air incident last January have been notified by the FBI that they may be victims of a crime.  

On January 5, news broke that an Alaska Airlines flight lost a door-plug panel during the flight, leading to a loss of cabin pressure and the deployment of oxygen masks. According to the Associated Press, the FBI told passengers that they may have been victims of a crime.  

The FBI’s Seattle office reached out to passengers of the flight, informing them of their potential status as crime victims and assuring them that the case is under investigation. 

“I’m contacting you because we have identified you as a possible victim of a crime,” the leader from a victim specialist at the FBI told one passenger. “This case is currently under investigation by the FBI.” 

Luckily, no passengers were significantly harmed by the incident, but footage of the incident resulted in many social media users gaining a heightened sense of concern for air travel.  

Following the incident, an investigation discovered that several bolts holding the panel in place were missing after the plane was worked on at a Boeing factory near Seattle. 

This development comes in the wake of a criminal investigation launched by the Department of Justice (DOJ) into the incident. The DOJ recently announced that it was examining whether the incident violated terms from a settlement reached in 2021, in which Boeing was spared prosecution for allegations of misleading regulators. 

Mark Lindquist, a lawyer representing multiple passengers from the Alaska Airlines flight, welcomed news of the investigation. He emphasized the importance of accountability following the shocking incident that occurred. 

“We want accountability, answers, and safer planes,” Lindquist said. “The DOJ and the FBI bring significant leverage and resources that I’m confident will help our case and help the flying public as well.” 

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