Passengers sue Alaska Airlines for $1 billion after door plug blow-out flight

Three passengers onboard the aircraft filed a lawsuit against the airline and Boeing

Natalie Wilson
Monday 04 March 2024 11:27 GMT
A Portland couple claim negligence caused the panel of the plane to blow out mid-flight
A Portland couple claim negligence caused the panel of the plane to blow out mid-flight (Getty Images)

Three passengers are suing Alaska Airlines and Boeing for $1 billion after a “negligent” cabin panel blowout mid-flight in January.

Portland couple Amanda Strickland and Kyle Rinker along with a third passenger, Kevin Kwok, were onboard the terrifying flight 1282 from Portland to Ontario, California when the unused exit door blew off at 16,000ft.

The trio, who were seated in the row behind the door plug, are seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

The lawsuit says: “As a direct result of the frightful, death-threatening failure of the Boeing aircraft, Mr Kwok, Mr Rinker, and Ms Strickland suffered severe mental, emotional, and psychological injuries, including post-traumatic stress, and physical injuries.”

Their attorney, Jonathan W. Johnson, told local news channel KGW-TV: “The issue with Alaska [Airlines], 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.”

A shirt, iPhones and other items were sucked out of the aircraft during the “life-changing” 5 January event, before the flight made an emergency landing.

Boeing manufactured the 737 Max 9 planes – grounded in the aftermath of the incident until they had passed inspection – with several of the models reported to have loose hardware and missing key bolts to hold the door in place.

Several other passengers, including seven plaintiffs previously offered $1,500 in compensation, sued Boeing in January for the emergency. They alleged that those on board suffered from bleeding ears, bruises and headaches.

Daniel Laurence, the attorney representing the plaintiffs said: “This nightmare has caused economic, physical and ongoing emotional consequences that have understandably deeply affected our clients, and is one more disturbing black mark on the troubled 737-Max series aircraft.”

An Alaska Airlines representative said that the company could not comment on pending litigation.

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