Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 experienced a mid-air scare on Friday night, 20 minutes into its 2-hour journey. The plane, a Boeing Co. 737 Max 9, was flying from Portland, Oregon, to Ontario, California, when a fuselage panel blew off, leaving a large hole in the aircraft. Fortunately, the incident occurred at an altitude of 16,000 feet, and the plane was able to land back in Portland without any casualties.
Despite the explosive rush of air that yanked some items out of the plane, including an iPhone, the 171 passengers and six crew members escaped without serious injuries.
An iPhone, which was sucked out of the plane, was found by Seanathan Bates on a roadside in Portland. Surprisingly, the phone remained in pristine condition, with only a broken-off piece of charger stuck inside as a sign of the chaotic event it experienced. The phone was in airplane mode, unlocked, and still had hours of battery life left.
The iPhone and another handset, found in a yard, have been handed over to the National Transportation Safety Board, which will return them to their rightful owners. The fuselage panel that fell off the plane was found in the backyard of a school teacher in Portland. The US Federal Aviation Administration has grounded some 170 Max 9 jets to carry out safety checks following the incident.
While it’s remarkable that the iPhone survived the fall unscathed, the incident is a cause for concern, and we are relieved that no lives were lost.