1709434822 Alaska Airlines and Boeing sued for 1 billion in damages

Alaska Airlines and Boeing sued for $1 billion in damages over a horrific mid-air explosion that sucked a teenager's shirt off

US News

Published March 2, 2024, 7:45 p.m. ET

Investigators examine large gaping hole that caused Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 to make an emergency landing. NTSB/AFP via Getty Images

A trio of passengers are suing Alaska Airlines and plane maker Boeing over the horrific Jan. 5 flight that took off from Portland, Oregon, and resulted in massive cabin panel damage.

Images of the gaping hole in the fuselage that nearly led to the disaster went viral – and suing passengers shared new horrific stories of their experiences after the lawsuit was filed, including one of a teenager nearly having his shirt sucked out.

“We got off to a good start and then it was only five minutes and we heard the loud bang,” passenger Kyle Rinker told KGW News, referring to a door plug blowing away, creating a gaping hole in the 737 MAX 9 plane.

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

“We were just sitting there trying to relax and then something like this just happened. The oxygen masks come down, just like, 'Oh, wow, something's going on.' We need to put these on.'”

“The wind just came out. It was suddenly very, very cold, obviously because you're flying at 16,000 feet,” he added.

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

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

It is alleged that the defendants ignored obvious warning signs and that the fight should never have started.

Rinker and Strickland, both from 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 chaos.

“This is primarily about the systemic problems at Boeing that endanger the lives of the entire public who travel on Boeing aircraft,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Jonathan Johnson. “You shouldn’t rely on luck to prevent a whole lot of people from getting killed.”

Johnson said that although the plane maker has admitted its role in the mishap and promised to fix such problems in the future, the lawsuit will push both companies to prioritize safety.

“So many people say, 'Oh, I'm sorry for what you went through,' and I think, 'Oh, it could have been a lot worse, even though it's still bad.' I think about it almost every day,” Rinker said.

Boeing and Alaska Airlines declined to comment.

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