The US federal aviation agency is investigating an incident with a plane that, according to images published in some media, lost part of its fuselage in mid-flight, although it was able to land safely at the Portland airport.
“Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 returned safely to Portland International Airport around 5 p.m. local time on Friday, January 5 (01:00 a.m. Saturday GMT), after the crew reported a pressurization issue. The plane was headed to Ontario International Airport in California,” says a statement from the Agency.
According to images provided by some passengers and that are being broadcast by American media, a fuselage panel, including the window, detached shortly after takeoff.
A witness cited by CNN says that the fuselage detached when the plane gained altitude and that he did not realize until he was able to remove his oxygen mask.
The plane, a Boeing 737 Max, carried 171 passengers and six crew members and was only in flight for approximately 35 minutes since it took off from Portland Airport.
The airline, Alaska Airlines, said through the social network X that it has decided to “ground” its fleet of 65 Boeing 737-9 aircraft. Each aircraft will return to service only after completing full maintenance and safety inspections.
He also said they were working with Boeing and regulators “to understand what happened tonight.”
According to the airline, “Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 from Portland, Oregon, to Ontario, California, experienced an incident this afternoon shortly after departure. The plane landed safely at Portland International Airport with 171 guests and 6 crew members.”
“The safety of our guests and employees is always our top priority, so while this type of occurrence is rare, our flight crew was trained and prepared to handle the situation safely. We are investigating what happened and “We will share more information as it becomes available,” the airline said.
Also through the social network X, the Boeing company said that they were “aware of the incident involving the Alaska Airlines flight.” “We are working to gather more information and are in contact with our airline customer. A Boeing technical team is ready to support the investigation,” they said.