An airline has grounded 65 aircraft after part of a plane blew out midair in a terrifying ordeal where passengers reportedly had their belongings sucked out.
Shocking videos and photos show a gaping hole in the side of a passenger plane after a section blew out during a flight in the US.
Passengers’ belongings were reportedly sucked out of the Alaska Airlines plane during the scary ordeal and the airline has decided to ground its entire fleet of 65 Boeing 737 MAX-9 aircraft.
There were 171 passengers and six crew members aboard Flight 1282, which was travelling to Ontario International Airport in California from Portland International Airport on Friday evening (Saturday AEDT).
It took off at 4.52pm on Friday, local time, but returned just 35 minutes later, according to data from flight tracking website Flight Aware, NY Post reports.
Alaska Airlines released an initial statement acknowledging the flight “experienced an incident”, without divulging further details.
Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci later released a statement announcing the company had grounded the fleet as a “precautionary step” and promised “each aircraft will be returned to service only after completion of full maintenance and safety inspections”.
The US Federal Aviation Administration said “the crew reported a pressurisation issue” and that the flight returned safely to Portland.
“The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will investigate,” a statement said.
Passenger Kyle Rinker told CNN “it was really abrupt, just got to altitude and the window/wall just popped off.”
CNN correspondent Pete Muntean, who covers aviation is also a pilot and flight instructor, said the part of the fuselage that was missing was a “plug” in place of an optional emergency exit.
One passenger told local television station KPTV that people’s phones were sucked out of the plane and a child had to be held down in his seat by his mother. He also reportedly lost his shirt.
Photos obtained by KTPV show the massive chunk missing in the plane’s fuselage.
Immediately after the piece blew off, oxygen masks were deployed and used by passengers as they waited for the plane to land, several on board who declined to give their names told the outlet.
People were reportedly treated for minor injuries.
Mr Minicucci said Alaska Airlines was working with Boeing and regulators “to understand what occurred tonight”, and would share updates as more information is available.
“My heart goes out to those who were on this flight – I am so sorry for what you experienced,” he said.
“I am so grateful for the response of our pilots and flight attendants. We have teams on the ground in Portland assisting passengers and are working to support guests who are travelling in the days ahead.”
Boeing said it was aware of the incident and was “working to gather more information”.
“A Boeing technical team stands ready to support the investigation,” a statement said.