FBI Considers Alaska Airlines 737 Incident Passengers, Potential Crime Victims

Passengers on an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 who experienced a mid-air emergency in January have been notified by the FBI that they may be crime victims. The incident, which occurred on January 5th, involved a panel on the airplane door blowing out and leaving a gaping hole in the fuselage. The passengers received letters from the FBI's Seattle field office stating, "We are contacting you because we have identified you as a possible victim of a crime. This case is currently under investigation by the FBI - a criminal investigation can be lengthy, and for several reasons, we cannot tell you about its progress at this time."


The incident raised concerns about airplane safety and potential wrongdoing by Boeing, the manufacturer. Investigators are looking into the cause of the panel detachment and whether any criminal activity related to the plane's manufacturing or maintenance occurred. Luckily, while some passengers reportedly sustained minor injuries, no one was seriously hurt.

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The letter represents a procedural step by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to inform potential crime victims. Previously, there were complaints from relatives of passengers involved in two separate Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashes in 2018 and 2019. These families argued their legal rights were violated when the DOJ reached a deferred prosecution agreement with Boeing in 2021 without notifying them beforehand. The DOJ revised its guidelines for informing potential crime victims in 2022.

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The ultimate outcome of this situation remains unclear. However, designating the passengers as potential crime victims highlights the seriousness with which federal agencies are taking the incident. While the investigation may take time, passengers may be eligible for services offered by the FBI's Victim Services Program.

Also Read:

Alaska Airlines Assists DOJ in Boeing 737 MAX Blowout Investigation

NTSB Issues Preliminary Report on Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 Incident

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