Airline Grounds 65 Boeing Aircraft After Mid-Flight Emergency

Aircraft Window Falls Out Mid Flight

Image of Alaska Airlines. Credit: AlaskaAir/X

PASSENGERS on board an Airliner endured a terrifying experience as one of its windows fell out while flying at 16,000 feet.

On the evening of Friday, January 5, an Alaska Airlines flight from Portland, Oregon, to Ontario, California, underwent a frightening ordeal. Shortly after departure, a window and a section of the fuselage were violently blown out from the aircraft at an altitude of 16,000 feet, requiring an emergency landing.

Emergency Landing After Mid-Air Incident

Passengers aboard the Alaska Airlines flight experienced sudden cabin depressurisation when the window became detached.

The plane, carrying 171 passengers and six crew members, was forced to divert and land safely back at Portland International Airport. Despite the seriousness of the situation, thankfully no injuries were reported among those on board.

Flight tracking data from FlightAware revealed that the incident occurred approximately six minutes after takeoff. Images circulating online show a gaping hole next to passenger seats, while a TikTok video depicts passengers donning oxygen masks during the ordeal.

Aircraft And Investigation Details

The Boeing 737-9 Max involved had been certified just two months prior, according to FAA records. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced it would investigate the event, with updates to follow. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also confirmed its involvement in the investigation.

This particular aircraft had completed 145 flights since its commercial debut on November 11, as per FlightRadar24. Remarkably, the flight from Portland was its third journey of the day. Boeing has acknowledged the incident and is actively participating in the ongoing investigation.

Alaska Airlines’ Response

Following the incident, Alaska Airlines issued a statement, highlighting the rarity of such occurrences and the preparedness of their crew to handle such emergencies.

‘The safety of our guests and employees is always our primary priority, so while this type of occurrence is rare, our flight crew was trained and prepared to safely manage the situation.

‘We are investigating what happened and will share more information as it becomes available,’ the airline stated.

Ben Minicucci, CEO of Alaska Airlines, expressed his deep concern for those affected by the incident. ‘My heart goes out to those who were on this flight – I am so sorry for what you experienced.

‘I am so grateful for the response of our pilots and flight attendants. We have teams on the ground in Portland assisting passengers and are working to support guests who are traveling in the days ahead,’ he said.

As a precaution, the airline has temporarily grounded its fleet of 65 Boeing 737-9 aircraft, pending thorough inspections. Minicucci confirmed his commitment to conducting the review swiftly and transparently, in coordination with Boeing and regulatory authorities.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.