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Portland Couple Sues Alaska Airlines And Boeing For $1B After Plane Door Blows Off

A Portland couple sues Alaska Airlines and Boeing for $1B after plane door blows off. The couple were aboard the Alaska Airlines 737-MAX 9 plane when its door blew out midflight, and they are taking legal action due to the trauma they experienced.

Author:Velma Battle
Reviewer:Michael Rachal
Mar 03, 2024
A Portland couple sues Alaska Airlines and Boeing for $1B after plane door blows off. The couple were aboard the Alaska Airlines 737-MAX 9 plane when its door blew out midflight, and they are taking legal action due to the trauma they experienced. Kyle Rinker, 29, was traveling with his girlfriend, Amanda Strickland, and fellow passenger Kevin Kwok to Ontario, California, on Alaska Flight 1282.
Just five minutes into the flight, there was a sudden loud 'pop' as one of the aircraft's door plugs blew out through the fuselage, causing a massive hole in row 26, just one row ahead of where the trio was seated in row 27. The incident has left them deeply shaken, with even the sound of planes flying overhead triggering distressing flashbacks.
As the plane climbed through 16,000 feet, there was a sudden rush of cold air, and the oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling panels. The lawsuit claims that Boeing and Alaska Airlines disregarded clear warning signs and should never have allowed the flight to proceed.
We took off fine and then just five minutes, and we heard the loud pop. We were just sitting there trying to relax ... and then, that thing just happens. The oxygen masks come down, just like, Oh, wow, something's going on. We got to get these on. We were in 27E and F, and that was 26A, B, and C, so we were pretty close. The wind just came rushing it. It was very, very cold all of the sudden.- Kyle Rinker
Fortunately, row 26 was unoccupied, and there were no injuries in the harrowing event. Now, two months later, Rinker reveals that he's deeply affected by the sound of planes passing overhead and seeks punitive damages to address systemic risks.
"There has been a crazy onslaught of information. Of course, we wanted to learn about ... it was just a lot of stuff. Where we live, we hear a lot of plane sounds and jet sounds, so that kind of triggers hearing that sound again. And no, we have not been on a plane since. I'm not sure when that will happen again."
"I don't think there has been a day that's gone by that we haven’t thought about it," Rinker's girlfriend, Strickland, added.
"It was so intense, the whole thing. We couldn't hear anything that was going on. All we felt was the air and heard the sound of the air rushing by."
"We've had so many people say, 'Oh, sorry about what you went through,' and I'm thinking like, 'Oh, it could've been a lot worse, even still with it being bad.' I think about that almost daily," Rinker said.
The lawsuit, filed in Multnomah County, seeks to hold both Alaska and Boeing accountable for endangering passenger safety. Although Boeing has admitted their responsibility in the matter and vowed to rectify the issues, attorney Jonathan Johnson, representing the passengers, stresses the importance of the lawsuit in ensuring that both companies prioritize safety over mere chance.
This is mostly about the systemic problems at Boeing, which is jeopardizing the lives of the entire traveling public who travelon Boeing aircraft. They should not be trusting luck to avoid a planeload of people being killed. The issue with Alaska, on this particular aircraft, they had several warnings, air pressure monitor warnings. In fact, I think they had said this aircraft couldn't fly over water. I think some of their problems recently is that they outsource some of the manufacturing, and even if they have adequate safety protocols at Boeing. When they use third-party contractors, they aren't necessarily making sure that the contractors follow the same safety protocols, so you could have a contractor send in a part that is not meeting those safety protocols.- Jonathan Johnson
The inside of the aircraft without its door
The inside of the aircraft without its door
Rinker also expresses his belief that the situation could have been far more dire, highlighting the ongoing impact of the ordeal daily.
Boeing and Alaska Airlines have not provided any comments regarding the lawsuit. Investigators examined the aircraft to determine if the four bolts meant to secure the panel were missing during takeoff. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) inspected after the plane's door landed in a suburban backyard in Portland, Oregon.
During a press briefing, NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy suggested that passengers seated near the blown-out section likely remained in their seats due to wearing seatbelts. Both Alaska and United Airlines separately reported discovering loose parts in the panels, or door plugs, of some other Boeing 737 MAX 9 jets.
Alaska Airlines stated that during their examination of their MAX 9 aircraft, "initial reports from our technicians indicate some loose hardware was visible on some aircraft." In January, Boeing faced a lawsuit from shareholders who claimed the company prioritized profits over safety and deceived them regarding its dedication to producing safe airplanes, before the January 5 incident.
According to the proposed class action, Boeing continued to assure investors for over four years after the October 2018 and March 2019 crashes involving two other MAX planes, which resulted in the deaths of 346 people, that it was "laser-focused" on safety and would not compromise safety for profit. Shareholders alleged that Boeing's statements were untrue and deceptive because they concealed the "poor quality control" on its assembly line, leading to an inflated stock price.
Velma Battle

Velma Battle

Travelling Expert
Michael Rachal

Michael Rachal

Travelling Expert
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