Alaska Air passengers sue Boeing over Max 9 door blowout – Daily News

on Jan12
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By Madlin Mekelburg | Bloomberg

Boeing Co. was sued by passengers on an Alaska Airlines Inc. flight that was forced to make an emergency landing in Portland, Oregon, last week after a mid-air blowout of a so-called door plug on the 737 Max 9 jet.

The suit, filed Thursday in Washington state court by seven passengers, seeks class-action status and unspecified damages from Boeing, which manufactured the plane. The 171 passengers and six crew on Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 experienced physical injuries and emotional trauma from the accident on Jan. 5, according to the complaint.

Also see: Alaska Airlines again grounds all Boeing 737 Max 9 jetliners as more maintenance may be needed

“The pressure change made ears bleed and combined with low oxygen, loud wind noise and traumatic stress made heads ache severely,” lawyers for the plaintiffs said in the suit. “Passengers were shocked, terrorized and confused, thrust into a waking nightmare, hoping they would live long enough to walk the earth again.”

Boeing is facing scrutiny from US regulators, who have opened a formal investigation into the company’s aircraft operations following the incident. Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun said “a quality escape” compromised the safety of jet, but the company is still trying to understand exactly what went wrong.

Boeing declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Also see: Boeing’s mid-flight blowout is latest in series of quality lapses on 737 Max plane

Alaska Airlines took delivery of the Max 9 jet from Boeing around Nov. 11, according to the complaint. Since the blowout on Flight 1282, inspections found some bolts that secure door plugs on similar Max 9 planes owned by Alaska Airlines and United Airlines were loose.

Passengers on Flight 1282 said they experienced a “sudden loud explosive noise” before the left door plug shot off the aircraft. The cabin “suddenly and violently depressurized,” according to the suit.

“The force of the depressurization ripped the shirt off a boy, and sucked cell phones, other debris, and much of the oxygen out of the aircraft,” the passengers claim in the lawsuit, adding that some pieces of seats near the opening were “torn off and expelled into the night.”

Oxygen masks fell from the ceiling, but many didn’t seem to work, according to the lawsuit.

The in-flight emergency response was impaired by the wind noise from the hole in the plane and shouting by passengers on board, according to the suit. One woman shouted: “There’s a hole in the plane!”

“Passengers feared they would not survive the flight,” lawyers said in the lawsuit. “Some prayed. Some texted family to express their trepidation. Some gripped and clung to one another. Some adult passengers were crying. Most were eerily subdued in their collective helpless state, muted with masks on.”



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