Boeing ERASED video of workers ‘fixing’ Alaska Airlines door plug six months before it blew off mid flight and have no records of repairs were done, NTSB claims

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Written By Maya Cantina

Boeing has erased security footage showing ‘repairs’ being made to an Alaska Airlines flight months before a door plug blew out at 16,000 feet sparking a massive federal probe into airline safety. 

National Transportation Safety Board officials noted in a letter to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation that the Boeing 737-9 plane underwent rivet repairs in September 2023. 

The door plug blew out mid-flight above Oregon on January 5 and led to an emergency landing. 

NTSB leaders said the door plug that failed was opened during the repair work months earlier but that Boeing has not ben able to locate records of the work. 

‘To date, we still do not know who performed the work to open, reinstall, and close the door plug on the accident aircraft. Boeing has informed us that they are unable to find the records documenting this work,’ Jennifer Homendy, NTSB chair wrote in the letter. 

Boeing has erased security footage showing ‘repairs’ being made to the fated Alaska Airline flight months before a door plug blew out at 16,000 feet, the NTSB claimed

On January 5, the door plug blew out on a flight above Oregon causing an emergency landing and a massive federal probe into airline safety

On January 5, the door plug blew out on a flight above Oregon causing an emergency landing and a massive federal probe into airline safety

‘A verbal request was made by our investigators for security camera footage to help obtain this information; however, they were informed the footage was overwritten. 

‘The absence of those records will complicate the NTSB’s investigation moving forward.’ 

The NTBS has launched both a criminal and civil investigation into Boeing after the flight. 

Boeing has been plagued by several high-profile safety incidents in the weeks following the Alaska Airlines flight drawing more attention to its manufacturing processes. 

The NTSB’s revelations comes as an investigation found the plane’s engineers were concerned about two warning alerts the day before the January 5 flight.

Rather than take the Boeing 737 Max 9 out of service, the airliner decided it should embark on three more flights the next day that would end in Portland, Oregon, the site of an Alaska Airlines maintenance facility. 

A New York Times investigation found that the airliner chose to keep the plane in service with hundreds of passengers despite the warning alerts, which the company insists may have been unrelated to the plug door blowing out. 

The Boeing jet had only been in service for a few months, and had sounded two alarms in the days before the incident warning of issues with the plane’s pressurization system.

However, the airline said it takes three warnings in that span to trigger more direct action, and it was decided that the plane could carry several hundred more passengers before it went in for checks.

The door plug was later found in the yard of an Oregon teacher

The door plug was later found in the yard of an Oregon teacher

The airline also reportedly insisted that the warnings did not meet the level required for it to be taken out of service, and has said there is no evidence the warning lights were related to the door blowout.

‘From my perspective as the safety guy, looking at all the data, all the leading indicators, there was nothing that would drive me to make a different decision,’ Max Tidwell, the vice president for safety and security for Alaska Airlines, told the New York Times.

Yet, the warnings were enough to concern engineers, and they called for the jet to undergo urgent security checks on January 5 to determine the cause of the warnings with the use of a ‘predictive tool.’

The airliner agreed to send it for servicing, but decided it should carry three more flights between then, although it did slap some restrictions on the plane.

This included banning the plane from any long-haul flights over water such as trans-Atlantic flights, or to any remote destinations in case of the need for an emergency landing.

The plug door blew out on the second of the three extra scheduled flights.

Boeing has denied wrongdoing in the case. 

A former Boeing technician at Boeing’s North Charleston plant yesterday told DailyMail.com how employees were ‘constantly’ under pressure to make quick fixes and not to document mistakes. 

Joseph Clayton, who worked for Boeing between 2013 and 2019, told DailyMail.com that ‘end level management pressured people to do things that were unsavory, such as do undocumented maintenance.’ 

‘As an AMP mechanic everything has to be documented but they would say “just put a nut and bolt in and fix it without filing the problem”‘ Clayton recalled. 

‘Almost everyone there has had to do something not correct’ he said. 

It comes after the death of whistleblower John Barnett, who had been in the middle of a deposition in a lawsuit related to production of the 787 Dreamliner at the same factory, which opened in 2009. 

The suit alleged under-pressure workers were deliberately fitting ‘sub-standard’ parts to Boeing 787s, and that management were sweeping defects under the rug to save money.

The 62-year-old died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Charleston County coroner’s office in South Carolina confirmed on Tuesday. 

‘If you said “no” and wanted to do it properly they would say you were being insubordinate,’ Clayton told DailyMail.com about management’s attitude to production issues. 

‘I would ask them to put everything in an email and of course they never sent that email. 

‘As flight mechanics, we’re more liable for faults than your common worker’ he said. 

Adding: ‘I am liable for inappropriate maintenance going back twenty years, so you have to have it documented.’ 

Clayton described the coercive and fearful experience of leaving the multibillion dollar company in 2019. 

‘When I left I had an NDA so I can only speak in vague terms. It technically wasn’t a condition of my leaving but they gave me two weeks pay if I did sign it. 

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