Alaska Airlines grounds all flights after panel blows out on new Boeing 737-9 MAX mid-flight

"You heard a big loud bang to the left rear..."


On Friday, Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 from Portland, Oregon to Ontario California was forced to make an emergency landing after a panel blew off the side of the two-month-old Boeing 737-9 MAX aircraft causing depressurization of the cabin. 

In a post on X, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said, "I’ve been briefed on last night’s incident and remain in close contact with FAA on the response." He added, "Grateful to the flight crew that kept passengers safe during this terrifying incident. FAA is supporting the NTSB’s [National Transportation Safety Board] investigation and will take all appropriate steps going forward."

Alaska Airlines announced late Friday evening that it was taking "the precautionary step of temporarily grounding our fleet of 65 Boeing 737-9 aircraft." It said, "Each aircraft will be returned to service only after completion of full maintenance and safety inspections. We anticipate all inspections will be completed in the next few days."

Evan Smith, a passenger on the flight, told KOMO, "You heard a big loud bang to the left rear. A whooshing sound and all the oxygen masks deployed instantly and everyone got those on."

FAA records confirm that the Boeing 737-9 MAX was a brand-new plane that had just been certified in November. Human Events senior editor Jack Posobiec noted, "This is a brand-new Boeing aircraft. It rolled off the line 2 months ago." He added, "We need a national investigation before people die." 

Boeing said in a statement on X, that they are "working to gather more information and are in contact with our airline customer." The company added, "A Boeing technical team stands ready to support the investigation." 


This is not the first time Boeing has had significant issues with a commercial aircraft. In 2019, the company suspended the production of the 737-8 MAX after two planes crashed under similar circumstances, killing 346 people. 

According to CNET, the plane was grounded for 2 years after aviation safety agencies across the globe forced Boeing to fix the flight control system determined to be at fault for both crashes. 

The FAA announced in December that it would be "closely monitoring targeted inspections of Boeing 737 MAX airplanes to look for a possible loose bolt in the rudder control system" in separate issues with the aircraft. 

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