A United Airlines plane had to make an unscheduled landing at Tampa International Airport on Wednesday after a warning light indicated that a door was open, the airport said.
The incident occurred just days after a door plug blew out of an Alaska Airlines plane in mid-air, causing a terrifying scene.
The United flight, number 2434, was en route from Sarasota, Florida to Chicago when the pilots noticed the open door indicator light and contacted the airport authorities. They decided to divert the plane to the nearest airport, which was Tampa, as a safety measure.
The plane, an Airbus A319, left Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport at 3:42 p.m. and arrived at Tampa at 4:35 p.m., according to Flight Aware, a website that tracks flights. There were 123 passengers and five crew members on board.
‘A possible mechanical issue’
A United spokesperson said the emergency landing was made “as a precaution this afternoon to address a possible mechanical issue.” The spokesperson did not confirm if the issue was related to the open door light, but a Tampa airport spokesperson said that was the reason given by the pilots when they requested the landing.
What happened with Alaska Airlines?
The incident came less than a week after a Boeing 737 Max 9 operated by Alaska Airlines suffered a major malfunction when a door plug came off during a flight from Portland, Oregon, to Honolulu, Hawaii. The door plug is a part that seals the gap between the door and the fuselage.
The door plug fell off at an altitude of 16,000 feet, creating a large hole in the side of the plane and exposing the passengers to a sudden drop in air pressure. A teenage boy had his shirt ripped off his body and almost sucked off by the force of the air, and other passengers lost their belongings, such as cell phones and headrests, some of which landed in people’s yards.
The Alaska Airlines flight, number 1282, had 171 passengers and six crew members on board. It made an emergency landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where no one was seriously hurt.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ordered all Boeing 737 Max 9 planes to undergo enhanced inspections of the cabin door exit plugs, door components, and fasteners before they can resume flying.
United Airlines and Alaska Airlines are the only two U.S. carriers that operate this model of plane. Both airlines have reported finding loose hardware on some of their Max 9s.