Witnesses recount an unnerving experience onboard an Alaska Airlines flight heading to California that faced a sudden depressurization event because a piece of the aircraft’s exterior was ripped off. Despite the startling turn of events, and thanks to an emergency landing, severe injuries were averted. A minor onboard was particularly affected by the incident as his mother had to keep him secure, his clothing was forcefully taken by the wind out of the plane and evidence of the severe wind could be seen on his reddened skin, described one traveler to KPTV.
An unexpected rupture in the aircraft’s sidewall, while thousands of feet in the sky, is akin to a scene out of a thriller. Amidst the chaos, the pilot relayed the situation to air traffic control stating ‘Portland approach, Alaska 1282 emergency! Aircraft is now leveling 12,000 in a left turn heading three four zero’, as reported by KPTV.
The flight was populated by over 170 passengers and manned by a team of six crew members. Contradicting earlier statements from other sources, a video shared by a fellow voyageur debunked the notion that the emergency door was the location of the damage.
NEW: A piece of the wall on an Alaska Airlines flight popped off mid-flight as the plane was traveling from Portland to Ontario, California.
This is terrifying.
After about 35 minutes into the flight, the side panel of the plane came off, reportedly sucking out passengers’… pic.twitter.com/7lDTgAPF1h
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) January 6, 2024
While providing commentary over the video, the passenger provided reassurance that the area of the incident was a ‘window’ section of the plane, and luckily, no one was positioned immediately adjacent to the affected area during the incident.
In the wake of the unfortunate event, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) imposed a temporary pause on specific Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft for U.S. airlines, as stated in a report by The Times.
Alaska Airlines’ CEO, Ben Minicucci, committed to the fact that every affected airplane ‘will be returned to service only after completion of comprehensive maintenance and safety inspections.’ This highlights the company’s commitment to ensure that any similar adverse situations can be precluded in the future even during unforeseen circumstances.
Alaska Airlines, motivated by the obligation to its passengers’ safety, promptly began a thorough investigation of the incident. Assurance was given that more details surrounding the occurrence will be shared as they come to light during the ongoing investigation.