Passengers of Boeing blowout flight told by FBI they may be crime victims

Boeing is currently under investigation for the blowout flight that occurred earlier this year over Oregon.

Passengers on an Alaska Airlines flight that lost a door-plug panel in midflight have been informed by the FBI that they may be victims of a crime.

The FBI contacted the passengers, stating that the case is currently under investigation and that they have been identified as possible victims.


The backstory: On Jan. 5, and Alaska Airlines flight was flying over Oregon when a panel blew out of the Boeing 737 Max jet, causing a rapid loss in cabin pressure and forcing oxygen masks to be deployed. 

  • The plane was able to land safely in Portland, Oregon, and no serious injuries were reported among the 171 passengers and six crew members.
  • Investigators have discovered that four bolts securing the panel were missing, suggesting they were not properly installed at a Boeing factory in Renton, Washington.
  • The incident has prompted a criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department to determine if the panel blowout violated the terms of a 2021 settlement that Boeing reached regarding the 737 Max.

The big picture: Passengers on the Alaska Airlines flight have received a letter from the FBI providing contact information for any questions or concerns they may have.

  • The FBI letter did not mention Boeing specifically, but Alaska Airlines has stated that they are fully cooperating and do not believe they are a target of the investigation.
  • The National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Justice Department are all conducting separate investigations into Boeing.
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