The 15-year-old Alaska Airlines passenger who was seated closest to the door plug that flew off mid-flight, sucking the shirt right off his back, fled to a different aisle and took a selfie with a stranger after the “unbelievable” ordeal.
The teen named Jack was likely saved by the seatbelt he was wearing as he sat in the same row as the plug that flew off the Boeing plane at 16,000 feet, the other passenger in the selfie, Kelly Bartlett, told local outlets.
The missing door plug left a gaping hole in the side of the plane, causing the interior to rapidly depressurize.
Barlett was sitting three rows ahead of Jack when she heard a loud boom and saw oxygen masks drop down in front of her as the cabin filled with wind gusts, she told KGW8.
Then the shirtless teenage boy jumped into the empty seat next to her.
“I heard the chaos, I didn’t know what was happening,” she told the local station. “You’re grabbing your mask and you’re just trying to figure out what is going on. It’s panic-inducing, it’s just really stressful.”
“And then in the midst of all of this, someone jumps over me and flops down in the middle seat and grabs the mask and puts it on.”
Stunned and confused as to where he came from, Bartlett noticed his chest was red and blotchy.
But the wind ripping through the cabin made it too loud to hear one another talk so Barlett pulled out her phone and typed a message into her notes app.
“Did you get hurt?” she wrote and then handed the phone to the teen.
“arm is abit [sic] scratched that was unbelievable my name is Jack brw [sic] thanks for your kindness,” he typed back in the same note, according to a screenshot obtained by KGW8.
Jack said he was sitting in the middle seat, one away from the plane part that blew off. The sudden depressurization sucked the shirt off his back and out through the massive hole into the dark sky along with his phone and laptop.
He was buckled in and his mother who was sitting in the aisle seat next to him held him down, according to the station. His mom was also relocated to a new seat but in a different row.
“I wasn’t in that row and I was so scared when we heard that boom and the masks came down — that was scary alone, so I cannot imagine what he or his mom are going through,” Bartlett said.
The California-bound plane, carrying 171 passengers and six crew members, was forced to return to Portland International Airport where it safely landed. Miraculously, no one was seriously injured.
When the plane touched down, the passengers clapped and cheered for the pilots and flight crew who got them back to the ground safely.
Jack asked Bartlett for a selfie.
“He said, ‘Let’s take a selfie,’ and as a mom, I was not thinking of it as a selfie moment, but as a 15-year-old, it was his perspective. He had just gone through something unbelievable, was the word he used,” Bartlett told KATU2.
The boy was reunited with his mom after touchdown.
Despite the terrifying experience, Bartlett said she felt lucky.
“People have said if we were at a higher elevation, it could’ve been so much worse,” she said to KGW8. “And it still could’ve been worse if Jack hadn’t had his seatbelt on or something. And so I feel really lucky that it happened the way that it did.”