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Feds ask for help finding door that blew off Alaska Airlines flight, imperiling passengers: report

Wanted: One plane door.

If found, please contact the National Transportation Safety Board immediately.

That was the message the feds put out Sunday when they asked for the public’s help finding a “plug door” that blew off an Alaska Airlines plane mid-flight Friday night, leaving a mammoth hole in the fuselage that threatened nearly 200 passengers.

“We believe, from looking at radar data, that the door is around Barnes Road near I-217 in the Cedar Hills neighborhood,” NTSB chair Jennifer Homendy said, referencing a region about seven miles west of Portland, Oregon.

“If you find that, please, please contact local law enforcement,” she added, according to CNN.

The emergency door flew off shortly after the California-bound plane departed Portland International Airport, creating a nightmare scenario for the 171 passengers and six crew members on board.

Terrified travelers watched in silence as the city lights blinked far below through the gaping hole where the door once was.

The ordeal — which unfurled as the plane hummed along at about 16,000 feet — quickly decompressed the cabin and forced pilots to turn around and head back to Portland for an emergency landing, according to NBC News.

A plug door blew out of a Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft Friday night, depressurizing the cabin and terrifying the 177 people on board. ZUMAPRESS.com
The plug door is often used as an emergency exit when needed. via KPTV

The 737 had just left the city 10 minutes earlier and was headed south to Ontario International Airport in San Bernardino County.

But luckily, no one was sitting next to the door that blew off, Homendy said.

The plane landed safely at Portland International Airport and first responders treated passengers with minor injuries at the scene.

“It’s fortunate that nobody died and there were not more serious injuries,” she told CNN after she toured the aircraft as part of the board’s investigation into the dangerous mishap.

NTSB investigators will also interview the flight crew, she said.

Thankfully, no one was sitting next to the blown-out plug door. Instagram/@strawberrvy via REUTE

Homendy said finding the missing door will help them figure out why it failed.

“If it’s sitting in somebody’s backyard, I would like to see it,” she said.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday that no one had called yet to tell them the door was in their yard.

Besides terrifying passengers, the eye-popping midair disaster led the FAA to ground certain Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft — totaling about 171 planes across the globe — and a slew of cancellations.

Boeing said it is developing a long-term solution to fix the 737 Max issues. AFP via Getty Images

Alaska Airlines itself canceled 160 flights — which affected about 23,000 travelers — as of Saturday, CNN reported.

More cancelations could be in store, too, as airline officials inspect their fleet of Boeing aircraft.

“We are identifying necessary cancellations for tomorrow and expect the disruption to last through at least mid-week,” the airline said in the statement to the network.

United Airlines has also grounded its fleet of 79 Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes as it works with the Federal Aviation Administration to inspect them, CNN said.

When the door was ripped off with a loud boom, the sudden depressurization tore headrests and cushions off the seats and sent oxygen masks plummeting from the ceiling, according to the outlet.

The ordeal terrified passengers, who watched as the seats were torn apart by the rapid decompression. Instagram/@strawberrvy via REUTE

Homendy told the network that she knew the planes had pressurization issues before the flight.

Investigators will be picking the brains of the airline’s mechanics to see what they did to fix that, she added.

Boeing said it supported the FAA’s order to ground the planes.

“Safety is our top priority and we deeply regret the impact this event has had on our customers and their passengers,” Boeing said in a statement to the network.

 Alaska Airlines did not respond to the network’s request for comment.

Written by SaleemBaloch

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