An Alaskan Airlines flight turned into a nightmare when a section of the plane blew out mid-flight, reportedly sucking out passengers’ belongings and forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing in Portland.
The Ontario, California-bound plane departed Portland International Airport at 4:52 p.m. Friday but returned just 35 minutes later following the terrifying ordeal, according to data from flight tracking website Flight Aware.
Shortly after takeoff, the flight, which had 171 passengers and 6 crew members aboard, “experienced an incident,” American Airlines said in a statement, without divulging further.
Passengers described the chaos as people’s cell phones and belongings were sucked out of the gaping hole in the plane.
One passenger told KPTV that a child had to be held down in his seat by his mother.
A child who sat closest to the damaged part of the plane 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.
It’s not clear if anyone was injured.
The plane safely made an emergency landing at Portland Airport, American Airlines and airport officials confirmed.
“The safety of our guests and employees is always our primary priority, so while this type of occurrence is rare, our flight crew was trained and prepared to safely manage the situation,” the airline said.
Alaska Airlines said it is investigating and would release more information as it becomes available.