Alaska Airlines aircraft suffers mid-air blowout

January 5, 2024 – Alaska Airlines 737-9 MAX aircraft suffered a serious incident with a rear mid-cabin exit door blown out minutes after take off. No injuries or fatalites reported.

The rear mid-cabin exit door assembly separated from an Alaska Airlines 737-9 MAX minutes after take off from Portland on 5 January. The aircraft, registration N704AL, departed Portland (PDX) bound for Ontario, CA (ONT) at 17:06 local time (01:06 UTC +1). The aircraft reached a maximum altitude of 16,325 feet AMSL. It diverted safely back to Portland, landing at 17:26, reaching the gate at 17:30. The flight was carrying 171 passengers and six crew.


The airline grounded all its MAX aircraft following the incident. Boeing said it was aware of the incident and was “working to gather more information”.  Announcing the initial grounding of 65 planes, Alaska Airlines’ CEO Ben Minicucci said: “Each aircraft will be returned to service only after completion of full maintenance and safety inspections.”

The UK Civil Aviation Authority told the BBC it was “monitoring the situation very closely”.

Evan Smith, one of the 171 passengers on board, said: “There was a really loud bang towards the left rear of the plane and a woosh noise – and all the air masks dropped.

“They said there was a kid in that row who had his shirt was sucked off him and out of the plane and his mother was holding onto him to make sure he didn’t go with it.”

Diego Murillo said the gap was “as wide as a refrigerator”.

Fellow passenger Elizabeth Lee added: “Part of the plane was missing and the wind was just extremely loud. but everyone was in their seats and had their belt on.”

Jessica Montoia described the flight as a “trip from hell” adding a phone was taken out of a man’s hand by the wind.


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