3 passengers sue Boeing, Alaska Airlines for $1 billion after door plug incident

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – An aviation law firm has filed a lawsuit for $1 billion against Boeing and Alaska Airlines on behalf of three passengers who were aboard Flight 1282 when a portion of the aircraft blew off mid-flight, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing in Portland International Airport (PDX) back in early January.

This suit comes after four passengers filed a class-action lawsuit later in the month. Additionally, an attorney representing another 22 passengers from the same flight filed an amended lawsuit on Feb. 7 making new allegations of negligence against Boeing and Alaska Airlines.

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Jonathan W. Johnson LLC, who is representing the three Portland-based passengers, stated in a press release that passengers Kyle Rinker, Amanda Strickland and Kevin Kwok were sitting 2 rows diagonally behind a 15-year-old boy whose shirt was sucked off during the rapid depressurization.

Oregon Emergency Landing
This image from video provided by Elizabeth Le shows passengers near the damage on an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9, Flight 1282, which was forced to return to Portland International Airport on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024. (Elizabeth Le via AP)

The suit alleges that Alaska Airlines had identified the issue with the plane before the incident and neglected to make further inspections before it was placed in service. The firm added they are seeking “to hold Boeing accountable for its negligence which had caused extreme panic, fear, and post-traumatic stress” among the 174 passengers and six crew members who were on board.

The lawsuit is seeking punitive damages from Boeing for not only the preventability of the incident, but because these manufacturing defects impacted numerous other Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft, which all had to be temporarily grounded and inspected by the FAA.

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Alaska Airlines flight 1282 was forced to make an emergency landing shortly after takeoff on Jan. 5, 2024, when a door plug (used to seal up the space where an optional exit door could be placed) blew off the plane, leaving a hole in the fuselage.

The incident occurred just seven minutes into the plane’s scheduled flight to Ontario, California. The aircraft landed safely back at Portland International Airport.

None of the 171 passengers or six crew members were seriously injured, though some passengers have since claimed to be suffering from emotional trauma. Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun, in a latter to employees days after the incident, also said he was “shaken to the bone” by the incident, Reuters reported.

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