U.S. News


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.
Alaska Airlines-operated Boeing flight made emergency landing after exit door blowout.
Posted at 3:28 PM, Mar 14, 2024

Federal investigators say their probe is being stymied after footage — that would have shown repair work being made on a door plug of the Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 jet that experienced a midair blowout in early January — is now missing. 

In a letter from the National Transportation Safety Board addressed to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, federal inspectors say they "still do not know who performed the work to open, reinstall, and close the door plug on the accident aircraft."

The NTSB has not been able to interview the door crew manager who would have overseen the repairs in Renton, Washington because he has been out on medical leave. The agency said they are only seeking to interview workers who did the repairs to learn more about Boeing's safety and quality assurance methods. 

The letter said, "NTSB investigators first requested documents that would have contained this information from Boeing on January 9, 2024. Shortly thereafter, we identified the door crew manager and were advised that he was out on medical leave. We requested status updates on February 15, 2024, and February 22, 2024, after which we were advised by his attorney that he would not be able to provide a statement or interview to NTSB due to medical issues."

Family of Boeing whistleblower blames company for his death
Plane flies over a building with a Boeing logo

Family of Boeing whistleblower blames company for his death

The family of John Barnett, who raised alarms about the company, is blaming the aircraft giant for a "hostile work environment."


Last week a criminal probe was launched by the U.S. Department of Justice to examine the Alaska Airlines-operated Boeing 737 MAX midair door blowout incident, according to multiple reports citing people familiar with the matter and related documents. 

Crew members and passengers on the flight were reportedly contacted by investigators to gather more information about the Jan. 5 flight which made an emergency landing in Portland, Oregon after a portion of the fuselage was ripped off the jet while it was still in the air. 

Alaska Airlines said in a statement, "We are fully cooperating and do not believe we are a target of the investigation."

Boeing didn't immediately  comment on the matter.