An Alaska Airlines plane made an emergency landing with a hole in the fuselage shortly after taking off from Portland, Oregon, on the US west coast. The two seats closest to the hole were empty. – It is very fortunate that the situation did not end tragically – said the head of the US National Transportation Safety Board. – I felt the plane falling. Then I realized that it was something completely different than turbulence and I started to panic, said Emma Vu, one of the plane’s passengers. – It was a trip from hell – said another traveler.
An Alaska Airlines flight took off from Portland on Friday. The destination of Flight 1282 was Oregon City, California. However, according to data from the airline and the Flightradar24 website, the plane with 171 passengers and six crew members made an emergency landing just 20 minutes after take-off, at 17.26 local time (on Saturday after 1 a.m. in Poland).
The plane was at an altitude of almost 5,000 meters when a fragment of the fuselage intended for the possible installation of additional doors broke off. There was a sudden drop in blood pressure. Passengers were ordered to put on oxygen masks. The plane made an emergency return to the airport.
There is no information about anyone injured during the flight. The head of the US National Transportation Safety Board, Jennifer Homendy, said that two seats where part of the fuselage was torn off were empty. – It is very lucky that the situation did not end tragically – she said.
Emma Vu, a passenger on the flight to Alaska, told CNN that she woke up as the plane was already falling. – I knew it wasn’t ordinary turbulence because the masks fell and then panic started – she said.
– I didn’t even know we had started. I was sleeping and felt the plane going down. Then I realized it was something completely different than turbulence and I started to panic. We were told to put on oxygen masks. We were instructed not to help others until we first ensure our own safety, said Emma Vu.
According to the passenger, several people needed help from stewardesses who handed out oxygen cylinders. – It made me try to calm down. I knew someone else might need the plane’s crew’s help more, she said.
The woman said that after getting off the plane, many people were surprised that the damage was so extensive. – When I got off the plane and I heard that the windows were broken, I thought it was a small crack, and then I looked at the photos and saw that literally the entire door had fallen off (…) I’m grateful that we weren’t higher in the air, that most of the plane did not fly away and that no one was hurt, said Emma Vu.
“Journey from Hell”
Another passenger told the BBC that he didn’t know what was happening at first. – I heard a noise and felt the wind coming. Strong air hit my face. I was trying to find out what was going on, he said.
– I wasn’t afraid, I don’t know why. Nobody screamed. It was a journey from hell, said another passenger interviewed by the station.
Main photo source: Reuters