The US Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration has ordered the “temporary grounding of some Boeing 737 Max 9s” similar to the Boeing plane involved in the Alaska Airlines crash. A plane made an emergency landing yesterday shortly after taking off from Portland, Oregon in the US northwest, with a window and part of the plane's wall detaching, creating moments of pure panic. Touching sadness.
The US-based airline grounded its 65 Boeing 737s as a precaution immediately after the crash. Then came the decision of the US authorities, who decided to ban all models of the aircraft in question, even those owned by other airlines.
Flights must be grounded until emergency inspections are carried out, which will take “four to eight hours per flight,” the company said in a statement. The order is for 171 Boeing 737-9 Max jets, CNN explained in a memo. Aviation authorities in countries from Great Britain to China are evaluating what to do.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Mike Whittaker said the agency will require immediate inspections before some planes can fly again.
What is known is that the plane was certified airworthy in October and has just been delivered. “In a rare occurrence,” Alaska Airlines said, “each plane returns to service only after thorough maintenance and safety inspections. We are working with Boeing and regulators to understand what happened,” CEO Ben Minicusi said.
Because that type of aircraft was already in the eye of the storm
Boeing has struggled in recent years with technical and quality control issues related to its 737 Max models. The fuselage is manufactured by Kansas-based Spirit Aero Systems. In August, Boeing discovered a quality problem involving the Spirit, including improperly drilled holes in the post-pressurized bulkhead. In December, American Aviation told the airline that Max had to inspect the plane for loose components in the plane's rudder control systems after an international operator discovered a missing bolt and nut during routine maintenance.
But not only. Boeing 737 Max planes were grounded around the world for 20 months following two crashes with Max 8 models in 2018 and 2019 that killed a total of 346 people in Ethiopia and Indonesia. The FAA approved the planes' return to service only after the company made changes to its flight control system. Boeing is now awaiting certification for the smaller Max 7 and larger Max 10 models
Witness Story: “I thought I was going to die”
Meanwhile, the first testimony from passengers who survived the Portland crash is emerging. Passenger Kyle Ringer said a porthole came loose shortly after takeoff. “It was really sudden. As soon as we got to altitude, the porthole with the panel exploded, and we didn't notice until the oxygen masks came off.”
An Alaska Airlines flight made an emergency landing Friday night after part of the plane flew off in mid-air. Video obtained by CBS News shows one of the passenger window panels being blown out. https://t.co/wKIOLENg3r pic.twitter.com/M00hT7HaPx
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 6, 2024
Another passenger, Vi Nguyen, said he was woken by a loud noise during the flight: “I opened my eyes and the first thing I saw was an oxygen mask in front of me. I looked to the left. The plane disappeared. The first thing I thought was 'I'm going to die'.”
Evan Smith, a young passenger sitting near the security door, says he saw his shirt fall off from the powerful suction of the vacuum. Fortunately the seat next to the torn panel was unoccupied. Scenes from the movies, but it really happened and it could have turned out to be a real tragedy.
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