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Justice Department investigates Alaska Airlines flight door plug explosion; report released

The Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into the explosion of a door plug on a Boeing 737 Max 9 plane during an Alaska Airlines flight in January, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

wall street journalCiting “documents and people familiar with the matter,” the Justice Department contacted some passengers on the plane to notify them that they may be victims of a criminal investigation, and the department said reported that it interviewed the pilots and flight attendants who were affected. Inside the plane.

Both the Justice Department and Boeing said they would not comment on the Wall Street Journal’s reporting on the investigation.

“It is normal for the Department of Justice to conduct an investigation in cases such as this,” Alaska Airlines said in a statement, adding that it was “cooperating fully and is committed to the investigation.” [we] I don’t think we are the subject of an investigation. ”

On January 5, Flight 1282 departed Portland International Airport for Ontario International Airport in San Bernardino County, California, but turned back mid-flight. The part of an airplane’s fuselage known as the “door plug.” They separated shortly after takeoff. No one on board was seriously injured and the plane landed safely, but authorities warned the situation could have worsened. “It’s more tragic.”

incident prompted temporary grounding Part of Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft.On the plane Since returning to service.

investigation The National Transportation Safety Board took the lead and discovered in advance that the door plugs were missing bolts.

According to the Wall Street Journal, investigators are looking into whether Boeing agreed to the next settlement. 2018 and 2019 737 Max 8 it crashes 346 people died.

The Justice Department ultimately held Boeing accountable for these incidents, and Boeing blamed two former pilots for determining the amount of training required to fly the Max planes.

Boeing was ordered to pay $2.5 billion to resolve investigation In 2021, the government announced it would drop conspiracy to defraud charges against the United States after three years if Boeing complies with the terms of the settlement.

According to the Wall Street Journal, if the Justice Department finds that Boeing was at fault for violating the terms of the 2021 settlement in this new lawsuit, Boeing could be charged with original charges of defrauding the United States. There is. The government may also extend a three-year trial contract that requires Boeing to keep the Justice Department updated on compliance improvements, the newspaper reported.

After the Alaska Airlines incident in January, many passengers filed lawsuits against the airline and Boeing.

In the days following the explosion, Seven passengers filed a class action lawsuit. Boeing claimed that the company “delivered the subject 737 MAX-9 to Alaska Airlines without properly securing it.” [door] The fuselage was not plugged in, or the bolts and seals used to attach the panel were defective.

3 passengers in February filed a $1 billion lawsuit It accused Alaska Airlines and Boeing of negligence, saying they ignored warning signs that could have prevented the door plug fiasco.

Jonathan Johnson, an attorney representing these passengers, said in a statement Saturday that he is “pleased that the Department of Justice has begun this investigation to determine why this plane was not properly manufactured.” Ta.

“I hope those responsible will be held accountable,” he added.

This week, The Federal Aviation Administration revealed in an audit Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems, which manufactured the plane at the center of the January incident, “have identified multiple instances in which both companies allegedly failed to comply with manufacturing quality control requirements.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/justice-department-investigating-door-plug-blowout-alaska-airlines-fli-rcna142629 Justice Department investigates Alaska Airlines flight door plug explosion; report released

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