Alaska Airlines emergency on Boeing 737-9 Max prompts FAA grounding

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The Alaska Airlines flight after its emergency landing back in Portland, Oregon, on January 5. (Kyle Rinker)

The short, terrifying journey of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on Friday could have been much worse.

When a part of the fuselage blew off shortly after takeoff, a boy’s shirt was sucked off his torso and out through the hole, passengers reported, leaving the mother holding the boy.

“It tore off her son’s shirt!” a man can be heard saying on video posted to Twitter by passenger Stephanie King.

The flight had reached 16,000 feet after taking off from Portland, Oregon, bound for Ontario, California, about 5:07 p.m., according to FlightAware. It landed safely about 20 minutes later back at the airport, with no serious injuries among the 171 passengers and six crew members.

Shortly after takeoff, a panel, including a window, popped off, passenger Kyle Rinker told CNN. “It was really abrupt. Just got to altitude, and the window/wall just popped off.”

“You heard a big loud bang to the left rear. A whooshing sound and all the oxygen masks deployed instantly and everyone got those on,” passenger Evan Smith told CNN affiliate KATU.

“We’d like to get down,” the pilot told air traffic control, according to a recording posted on “We are declaring an emergency. We do need to come down to 10,000.”

After being granted clearance to come to a lower altitude, the pilot told air traffic control, “We are emergency, we are depressurized, we do need to return back to, we have 177 passengers. Fuel is eighteen eight.”

Passenger Emma Vu said passengers comforted each other.

“The flight attendant came over, too, and told me it was going to be OK,” Vu told CNN. “The fact that everyone was kind of freaking out and she took that time to kind of make me feel like I was the only passenger – honestly that was really sweet.”

Passengers applauded as the plane landed, King’s video shows.

Some passengers stood up. Flight attendants reminded them to remain seated.

One man can be heard saying, “There’s a f—in’ hole inside the plane. What the f— is that?”


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