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Alaska Airlines Flight’s Door Plug Found in Oregon Teacher’s Backyard

The piece of the fuselage that blew out of an Alaska Airlines plane during a flight Friday turned up in the backyard of a school teacher, the National Transportation Safety Board announced Sunday.

The so-called door plug—an exit on aircraft that is permanently closed off, or “plugged”—tore out of the side of a Boeing 737 Max 9 after takeoff from Portland, Oregon, causing the cabin to depressurize and forcing the crew to make an emergency landing.

The missing piece of the fuselage was finally found Sunday by a Portland teacher in the Cedar Hills neighborhood, NTSB chair Jennifer Homendy announced. Identifying the teacher only as “Bob,” Homendy said she was “very relieved” that the door plug had been found after earlier telling reporters it was a “key missing component” in the investigation into why the emergency happened.

Homendy said that the auto pressurization fail light illuminated on the same Alaska Airlines plane on three flights in the weeks before the emergency Friday, but it’s not yet clear if those warnings were linked to the incident. She said the airline had taken the decision to restrict the plane from flying to Hawaii in case it needed to quickly return to an airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered the grounding of all Boeing 737 Max 9 planes with the same fuselage, putting some 171 aircraft owned by the likes of Alaska, Air Canada, and United out of service while awaiting inspection.



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