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Justice Department Reportedly Opens Criminal Probe Into Exit Plug Blowout On Alaska Airlines Boeing 737MAX

Justice Department Reportedly Opens Criminal Probe Into Exit Plug Blowout On Alaska Airlines Boeing 737MAX

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The Justice Department has reportedly opened a criminal probe into the mid-cabin exit plug blowout on an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737MAX in January, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The DOJ has refused to confirm the report, but in a statement, Alaska Airlines said a criminal investigation was “normal” and that it was “fully cooperating” with the probe.

Alaska Airlines said it doesn’t believe it “is a target of the investigation”.

On January 26, the mid-cabin exit plug on a brand new Boeing 737 MAX 9 blew out shortly after Alaska Airlines flight 1283 departed Portland bound for Ontario.

Several of the 171 passengers and six crew members sustained minor injuries, and one passenger even had the shirt sucked clean off his back during the explosive decompression, but thankfully, no one was seriously injured.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) temporarily grounded certain 737 MAX 9 jets, and separate investigations by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are still ongoing.;

According to the Wall Street Journal, the DOJ has written to some of the passengers on flight 1283 to inform them they are being considered potential victims in the criminal investigation.

Safety investigators found that the exit plug didn’t have crucial bolts fitted to help keep it secured in place. According to the NTSB, the bolts may have been removed during maintenance, but crucial paperwork that Boeing should have completed may not exist.

The DOJ probe is believed to center on a deferred prosecution agreement that Boeing entered into in 2018 relating to its involvement in the deadly crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.

The settlement agreement was due to expire just days after the Alaska Airlines exit plug blowout.

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