DOJ opens probe into Alaska Airlines plane blowout: report

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) is reportedly opening a probe into the Jan. 5 Alaska Airlines blowout, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. 

Investigators have reportedly contacted several passengers and crew members on the Jan. 5 flight, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing “documents and people familiar with the matter.” 

“In an event like this, it’s normal for the DOJ to be conducting an investigation. We are fully cooperating and do not believe we are a target of the investigation,” Alaska Airlines told Fox News Digital in an email statement. 

The article stated the probe would “inform the Justice Department’s review of whether Boeing complied with an earlier settlement that resolved a federal investigation” as a result of two fatal incidents involving Boeing 737 Max jets in 2018 and 2019. 

ALASKA AIRLINES INFLIGHT BLOWOUT COULD HAVE BEEN ‘MUCH DIFFERENT’ SCENARIO, NTSB WARNS

A plastic sheet covers an area of the fuselage of the Alaska Airlines N704AL Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft outside a hangar at Portland International Airport Jan. 8, 2024, in Portland, Ore. (Mathieu Lewis-Rolland/Getty Images)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rescinded its grounding order for Boeing’s 737 Max jet in November 2020 after a 20-month review after crashes in 2018 and 2019 killed 346 passengers.

Investigators have reportedly begun notifying passengers on the Jan. 5 flight that they are potential crime victims in the case, according to a document viewed by The Wall Street Journal. Pilots and flight attendants on the plane have already been interviewed, according to the outlet. 

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Fox News Digital has also reached out to the DOJ for an additional statement. 

A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report released last month found that four key bolts were missing from the door plug. 

The Department of Justice logo

Investigators have reportedly begun notifying passengers on the Jan. 5 flight that they are potential crime victims in the case, according to a document viewed by the Wall Street Journal. Pilots and flight attendants on the plane have already been interviewed, according to the outlet.  (Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“Overall, the observed damage patterns and absence of contact damage or deformation around holes associated with the vertical movement arrestor bolts and upper guide track bolts in the upper guide fittings, hinge fittings, and recovered aft lower hinge guide fitting indicate that the four bolts that prevent upward movement of the MED plug were missing before the MED plug moved upward off the stop pads,” the report states.

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Alaska Airlines flight 1282 made an emergency landing Jan. 5, shortly after taking off from Oregon’s Portland International Airport when a door plug blew off the jetliner as it was ascending for a trip to California. 

A door missing on an aircraft

Alaska Airlines flight 1282 made an emergency landing Jan. 5, shortly after taking off from Oregon’s Portland International Airport, when a door plug blew off the jetliner as it was ascending for a trip to California.  (Kyle Rinker/Fox News)

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The blowout prompted the FAA to ground similar Boeing 737 Max 9 jetliners for inspections. The grounding resulted in thousands of flight cancellations.

Fox News’ Stephany Price and Audrey Conklin contributed to this report. 

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