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NTSB Investigates Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 After Section Of Plane Blew Off During Flight

Source: Handout / Getty

On Friday, an emergency door flew off of an Alaska Airlines plane with 171 passengers and six crew on board just minutes after take-off.

Hundreds of Boeing 737 MAX 9 flights have now been grounded or canceled after the incident that occurred at 16,000 feet and caused an emergency landing in Portland, Oregon. The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered that the MAX 9 planes be thoroughly inspected.

In a news conference Sunday night, National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy said the plug was found near Portland in a schoolteachers backyard.

She said pilots reported that the same plane experienced three pressurization warnings, from the cockpit dashboard lights, between Dec. 7 and Jan. 4. At least one occurred in-flight.

The plane was just weeks old, delivered at the end of October. Alaska Airlines maintenance crews checked and cleared the light after each illumination.

On the day before the blowout, Homendy said, the carrier said that plane couldn’t make any long flights over water so it could “return very quickly to an airport” if the warning light appeared again. She stressed that the light might not be related to Friday’s incident. In addition, more maintenance work was ordered, but none was done before Friday night’s flight.

The Max, which comes in four variants, numbered seven through 10, is the most popular plane in Boeing’s history, accounting for a fifth of all orders placed since 1955, company data shows.