Web Stories Thursday, April 25

A trio of passengers are suing Alaska Airlines and aircraft manufacturing giant Boeing for $1 billion over the horrific Jan. 5 flight that took off from Portland, Oregon, and had a massive cabin panel blowout.

Images of the gaping fuselage hole that nearly caused disaster went viral — and the suing passengers told new terrifying stories of their experience after filing suit, including of a teen’s shirt nearly getting sucked out.

“We took off fine and then just five minutes, and we heard the loud pop,” passenger Kyle Rinker told KGW News, referring to a door plug blowing off, creating a gaping hole in the 737 MAX 9 plane.

Plaintiffs Kyle Rinker and Amanda Strickland were on the plane. Instagram/Kyle Rinker

“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.’”

“The wind just came rushing it. It was very, very cold all of the sudden, obviously, because you’re flying up there at 16,000 feet,” he added.

The flawed door plug from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282
This photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board shows the flawed door plug from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282. AP

Rinker and his girlfriend Amanda Strickland, along with another passenger Kevin Kwok, late last month filed the lawsuit in Multnomah County, Oregon, on behalf of passengers aboard Alaskan Airlines flight 1282.

It alleges the defendants ignored obvious warning signs and that fight should have never taken off.

Rinker and Strickland, both of Portland, sat two rows behind 15-year-old Jack, who lost his shirt during the snafu.

During the flight, Rinker posted images on X of the chaos.

“This is mostly about the systemic problems at Boeing, which is jeopardizing the lives of the entire traveling public who travel on Boeing aircraft,” said the plaintiffs’ lawyer Jonathan Johnson. “They should not be trusting luck to avoid a planeload of people being killed.”

Johnson said that although the aircraft manufacturer acknowledged their role in the blowout and vowed to fix such problems from happening in the future, the lawsuit will push both companies to prioritize safety. 

“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. 

Boeing and Alaska Airlines declined comment.

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