FBI tells passengers on Alaska flight they may have been victims of crime

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By journalsofus.com


Passengers aboard an Alaska Airlines plane that made an emergency landing after a fuselage panel exploded this year began receiving letters from the FBI identifying them as possible victims of a crime.

The letters are a sign that a criminal investigation The Department of Justice has opened up to BoeingThe manufacturer of the 737 Max 9 aircraft is increasing its production.

“As a victim specialist in the Seattle division, I am contacting you because we have identified you as a possible victim of a crime,” reads the letter from the FBI’s Seattle office, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times. . The letter says the incident is under criminal investigation by the FBI, but adds that such investigations can be lengthy and that “for various reasons, we are unable to inform you of their progress at this time.”

The panel of the flight, which was carrying 171 passengers and six crew members, flew at an altitude of 16,000 feet, shortly after the plane took off from the Portland, Oregon, airport in early January. The National Transportation Safety Board said in a preliminary report that the panel, known as door stopper and used to fill the space that would have been occupied by an emergency exit door if the plane had included more seats, it was missing four bolts intended to secure it in place.

Steve Bernd, a spokesman for the FBI’s Seattle office, declined to comment on the criminal investigation. Boeing also declined to comment. The company has previously said it is cooperating with the investigation.

Mark Lindquist, a lawyer for some of the passengers, said his clients welcomed the investigation. “We want answers, accountability and safer Boeing planes,” he said. “The Department of Justice brings a lot of momentum to those goals.”

The Wall Street Journal previously reported that investigators had contacted some passengers and crew members.

The investigation is among Boeing’s growing problems, which include a recent Federal Aviation Administration audit that encountered problems in its manufacturing process. The Department of Justice also reviewing a 2021 deal of a criminal charge against the company stemming from fatal accidents involving its Max 8 planes. In that case, the department had agreed to drop the charge in exchange for Boeing paying more than $2.5 billion, most of it in the form of compensation to the clients.

Federal investigators said they were still working to obtain the names of employees who had worked on the door stopper that exploded. Boeing has told members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and the National Transportation Safety Board that it could not find a record with the information.

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