Door Plug, Cell Phones From Alaska Airlines Flight Found in Suburban Area


A door plug and two cell phones have been recovered from Alaska Airlines flight 1282. The Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing in Portland, OR just moments after takeoff on Jan. 5 due to a section of the fuselage separating from the plane, which caused uncontrolled decompression onboard.

At the time, the flight was carrying 171 passengers and six crew members, all of whom survived the scary incident.

During a press conference on Sunday evening, National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy said that the door plug, referring to a panel installed to replace an optional emergency exit door, was found near Portland in the backyard of a schoolteacher identified only as “Bob.”

“I’m excited to announce that we found the door plug. Thank you, Bob,” Homendy said. “I will not give you Bob’s last name, but Bob contacted us at with two photos of the door plug and said he found it in his backyard. Thank you, Bob. I will reach out to you so that I can thank you myself.”

On January 5, #AlaskaAirlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 (N704AL) flight #AS1282 from #Portland to Ontario, CA, lost its window panel shortly after takeoff. The cabin’s oxygen masks were released.#Boeing #737MAX #AlaskaAir #PDX #aviation #AvGeek #avgeeks #flights #Travel #traveler

— FlightMode (@FlightModeblog) January 6, 2024

The NTSB have also recovered two cell phones that were sucked from the aircraft when the door plug blew out, one of which was found by X (formerly Twitter) user Sean Safyre, who posted the photos online.

Miraculously, the phone not only survived the 16,000 drop intact, but when Safyre happened across it, it was still in airplane mode with half a battery of power and open to a baggage claim receipt. In a chilling follow-up post, he included a close-up of the broken-off charger still plugged into the phone, to show just how violently the device was sucked out of the hole in the plane.

In case you didn’t see it, there was a broken-off charger plug still inside it! Thing got *yanked* out the door
(Sorry I didn’t get a better pic before handing it over haha)

— Seanathan Bates (@SeanSafyre) January 8, 2024

In the wake of the incident, the Federal Aviation Administration announced that it was temporarily grounding about 171 Boeing 737 Max 9 jets for required inspections that would take around four to eight hours.

“This emergency was prompted by a report of an in-flight departure of a mid cabin door plug, which resulted in a rapid decompression of the airplane,” the agency said in a directive. “The FAA is issuing this AD to address the potential in-flight loss of a mid cabin door plug, which could result in injury to passengers and crew, the door impacting the airplane, and/or loss of control of the airplane,” the agency’s order said. “This AD prohibits further flight of affected airplanes, until the airplane is inspected and all applicable corrective actions have been performed.”

Coincidentally enough, just days before the incident occurred, Alaska Airlines was rated No. 10 out of the top 25 safest airlines of 2024 by an airline safety and product rating website; the highest-rated U.S. air carrier on the list. Whether it holds that position on the 2025 list remains to be seen.

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