Alaska Airlines flight suffers mid-air damage, lands safely in Oregon

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An Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to San Francisco had to make an emergency landing in Portland, Oregon, on Friday after a window and a chunk of fuselage blew out in mid-air. No one was injured in the incident, which the airline said was caused by a “structural failure”.

What happened on the flight?

The flight, Alaska Airlines 139, took off from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport at 9:15 a.m. local time with 114 passengers and five crew members on board. About an hour into the flight, passengers heard a loud bang and saw a window near the back of the plane shatter. A piece of the plane’s exterior also broke off, leaving a hole in the fuselage.

Passengers described the scene as terrifying and chaotic. Some said they saw debris flying past the window, while others said they felt a sudden drop in pressure and temperature. Some passengers put on oxygen masks, while others prayed and hugged each other.

The flight crew quickly announced that they were diverting to Portland International Airport and asked everyone to remain calm and seated. The pilot managed to land the plane safely at 10:23 a.m. local time, without further incident.

How did the airline and authorities respond?

Alaska Airlines said in a statement that the flight experienced a “structural failure” and that the cause was under investigation. The airline said it was working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to determine what happened.

Alaska Airlines flight suffers mid-air damage

The airline also said it was providing support and assistance to the passengers and crew, and that it had arranged another flight to take them to San Francisco. The airline apologized for the inconvenience and thanked the passengers for their cooperation.

The FAA and the NTSB also confirmed that they were investigating the incident. They said they had not found any evidence of a bird strike, engine failure, or other external factors that could have caused the damage. They said they were looking into the maintenance history, the structural integrity, and the design of the plane, which was a Boeing 737-900.

How common are such incidents?

According to aviation experts, incidents like this are rare but not unheard of. They said that planes are designed to withstand high levels of stress and pressure, but that sometimes cracks or flaws can develop over time, especially in older planes. They said that such cracks or flaws can be triggered by factors such as turbulence, temperature changes, or fatigue.

They said that in most cases, planes can still fly safely with minor damage, as long as the cabin pressure is maintained and the structural integrity is not compromised. They said that pilots are trained to handle such situations and to land the plane as soon as possible.

They said that passengers should not be alarmed by such incidents, as they are very unlikely to happen. They said that flying is still one of the safest modes of transportation, and that the chances of being involved in a fatal plane crash are extremely low.

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