U.S. News


FBI sends letter to Alaska Airlines passengers warning of 'crime'

The letter was sent to passengers on the Boeing 737 Max jet that had a panel blowout midflight in January, saying they are possible crime victims.
An investigator examines the frame on a section of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 that is missing panel on a Boeing 737-9 MAX.
Posted at 5:55 PM, Mar 22, 2024

The FBI sent a letter to passengers on an Alaska Airlines-operated Boeing 737 Max jet warning them they have been identified "as a possible victim of a crime," after the plane they were on experienced a door panel blowout midflight in January. 

The letter, dated March 19 and from the FBI's Seattle division, said the agency cannot tell the recipients about the progress of their investigation, but that one is currently underway. 

The FBI said, "Due to the large number of potential victims in this case," recipients of the letter would not likely receive additional letters, and referred recipients to the bureau's Victim Notification System for possible updates. 

Scripps News reached out to the FBI's Seattle Division for further comment on the letter and the investigation but didn't immediately receive a response. 

Attorney Mark Lindquist shared the letter with Scripps News, writing, "My firm's clients and I welcome the DOJ investigation. We want accountability, answers, and safer planes. The DOJ will help with all those goals."

The FBI, in its response to Scripps News wrote, "Per DOJ policy, the FBI does not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation."

In early March the U.S. Department of Justice reportedly launched a criminal probe to look into how the plane experienced a critical failure, and what led up to the panel blowout. 

Repair footage goes missing amid Boeing, Alaska Airlines blowout probe
Alaska Airlines-operated Boeing flight made emergency landing after exit door blowout.

Repair footage goes missing amid Boeing, Alaska Airlines blowout probe

Federal investigators say the footage would have shown repair work being done on the door plug of the failed Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 plane.


Days later, federal investigators said their work was being hindered after footage, believed to have shown repair work being made on the door plug of the 737 Max 9 jet, went missing. 

The National Transportation Safety Board sent a letter on March 13 to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation writing that investigators "still do not know who performed the work to open, reinstall, and close the door plug on the accident aircraft."