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Terrified Alaska Airlines passenger sent final texts to loved ones as plane plunged after window blew out

Children’s shirts sucked off, phones flying into the sky and passengers fearing for their deaths as part of plane pulled off at 16,000 ft

Maira Butt
Sunday 07 January 2024 16:37 GMT
Related video: US officials order grounding of Boeing 737-9 Max jetliners after fuselage blowout

A terrified passenger described the moment she texted her mother and father goodbye after a plane’s window blew off midair.

Emma Vu sent what she thought could be her final messages to her parents while aboard Alaska Airlines flight 1282 saying: “I am so scared right now. Please pray for me. Please I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die.”

The flight to Ontario, California experienced major depressurisation during the incident at 16,000ft on Friday evening.

Emma Vu shared her ordeal on TikTok (Emma Vu)

While all 177 passengers and crew were safe when the aircraft eventually landed back in Portland, those on board have spoken out about their horrifying ordeal.

Ms Vu posted on her TikTok account, explaining how she felt the entire plane drop and feared she wouldn’t survive. She said she had been scared not knowing what was going on, as passengers were unaware of the extent and seriousness of the damage as it happened.

“I’m home now, it’s ok,” she said. “I’m definitely still shaken up.”

She shared screen grabs of messages to her parents (Emma Vu)

Posts uploaded to social media show a window and a portion of the side of the plane missing and oxygen masks deployed.

A child’s shirt was also reportedly torn off and phones were sucked out into the night sky.

TikTok user Courtney had also been on board and described it as “the scariest moment in my life”. In a video she shared online, aeroplane staff can be heard reassuring passengers, with others being treated for injuries.

This picture shows the gaping hole in the wall of the plane where thankfully no one had been sitting (AP)

“Everyone was OK thankfully and no one was sitting in the window seat that burst open,” she said. “Ten minutes into our flight we heard a loud bang and the oxygen masks dropped down. I was in the front and we had no idea what was happening at first, just that the plane depressurised extremely fast.

“So thankful for the amazing pilots that were able to safely land us! Alaska Airlines has some explaining to do.”

Footage from inside the plane also shows passengers using oxygen masks, while stars can be seen through the gaping hole left where the window was.

Vi Nguyen, who was also on board the flight, recorded herself wearing an oxygen mask in a TikTok video. She said she had just woken up from a nap “thinking it was turbulence, turns out the wall of the plane flew off while in the air”. She told followers that passengers had been offered free food and a refund on their flights.

Alaska Airlines has now grounded dozens of Boeing 737 MAX 9 jets for safety checks after the mid-air cabin panel blowout forced the emergency landing.

Airline CEO Ben Minicucci said in a statement its fleet of 65 similar planes would be returned to service only after precautionary maintenance and safety inspections, which he expected to be completed in the “next few days”.

US aviation authorities have also announced an investigation.

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