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Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 passenger saved by seatbelt after door plug blew off aircraft

by Staff


More passengers who were aboard an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 jet when part of its fuselage blew out in January are suing — including one who says his life was saved by a seat belt.

The latest lawsuit, representing seven passengers, was filed in Washington’s King County Superior Court Thursday against Boeing, Alaska Airlines, Spirit AeroSystems and 10 people listed as John Does.

Cuong Tran, of Upland, California, was sitting in the row behind where the side of the aircraft tore away and left a door-sized hole on Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on Jan. 5, according to a news release from attorney Timothy A. Loranger.

Loranger, who filed the lawsuit, said air rushed out of the hole, pulling on Tran and others nearby.

The suction tore Tran’s shoes and socks from his feet and he felt his body lift off his seat, the news release said, adding that Tran’s foot was hurt when it was jerked into the seat structure in front of him.

More passengers who were aboard an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 jet when part of its fuselage blew out in January are suing — including one who says his life was saved by a seat belt. AP

“Our clients — and likely every passenger on that flight — suffered unnecessary trauma due to the failure of Boeing, Spirit AeroSystems, and Alaska Airlines to ensure that the aircraft was in a safe and airworthy condition,” Loranger said.

The lawsuit seeks punitive, compensatory and general damages for alleged negligence, product construction/manufacturing defect liability and failing in its duty to protect passengers from harm.

The lawsuit seeks punitive, compensatory and general damages for alleged negligence, product construction/manufacturing defect liability and failing in its duty to protect passengers from harm. AFP via Getty Images
Then the piece of fuselage covering an inoperative emergency exit behind the left wing blew out. via REUTERS

Boeing responded to an email Thursday seeking comment saying, “We have nothing to add.” Alaska Airlines and Spirit AeroSystems didn’t immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

The first six minutes of the flight from Portland, Oregon, to Southern California’s Ontario International Airport had been routine, the Boeing 737 Max 9 about halfway to its cruising altitude and traveling at more than 400 mph.

Then the piece of fuselage covering an inoperative emergency exit behind the left wing blew out.

The pilots made an emergency landing back where they started in Portland. No one was seriously hurt.

Another lawsuit against Boeing and Alaska Airlines was filed last month on behalf of 22 other passengers on the flight, also accusing the companies of negligence.

Catch up on Boeing’s ongoing airplane fiasco

Boeing has recently been plagued by safety concerns that began Jan. 5 after a door panel blew off a Boeing 737 MAX 9 jet during a flight from Oregon to California. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the plane — which was operated by Alaska Airlines — appeared to be missing four key bolts.

Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines, threatened to shun Boeing after the carrier’s fleet of MAX 9 aircraft was grounded in the wake of the near-disastrous Alaska Airlines door blowout.

Jennifer Homendy, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, warned that another midair door blowout like the Boeing 737 MAX 9 fiasco “can happen again,” adding there was a “problem with the process” of production.

Disaster struck again a week after the initial incident when a Boeing plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Japan due to a crack in the cockpit window.

A Boeing 757 lost its front tire as the aircraft was preparing to depart for an international flight in late January. At Atlanta International Airport, a Delta flight bound for Bogota, Colombia, was taxiing across the runway into takeoff position when another plane alerted the control tower that something was amiss.

Later, a UK passenger was alarmed after noticing pieces of tape on the exterior of a Boeing 787 during a flight to India, as seen in shocking photos.

A United Airlines Boeing 777-300 aircraft suffered a midair fuel leak and was forced to make an emergency landing Monday, March 11, marking the fifth incident the airline reported in a little over a week.

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary previously said he’s made “loud complaints” to Boeing over quality control.

Whistleblower John Barnett raised safety concerns at the airline’s factories and provided his first testimony at a bombshell lawsuit against Boeing. He was found dead in his truck after he failed to show up for the second part of his testimony on Monday.

In a preliminary report last month, the National Transportation Safety Board said four bolts that help keep the door plug in place were missing after the panel was removed so workers could repair nearby damaged rivets last September. The rivet repairs were done by contractors working for Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems.

Boeing, under increased scrutiny since the incident, has acknowledged in a letter to Congress that it cannot find records for work done on the door panel of the Alaska Airlines plane.

Another lawsuit against Boeing and Alaska Airlines was filed last month on behalf of 22 other passengers on the flight, also accusing the companies of negligence. AP

The Department of Justice has also launched a criminal investigation.

The probe would assist the department’s review of whether Boeing complied with a settlement that resolved a federal investigation into the safety of its 737 Max aircraft after two deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019.




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