Federal aviation officials ordered the grounding of a popular model of Boeing's 737 MAX jets over the weekend, following a harrowing incident on a Friday Alaska Airlines flight during which a chunk of the plane's fuselage blew off midascent. No one was injured during the incident, though depressurization reportedly ripped a child's shirt off. See video here.
The blowout occurred on a late afternoon flight out of Portland, Oregon, minutes after takeoff at about 16,000 feet in the air. The failed section was said to be a panel where MAX 9 models have the option for an emergency exit; Alaska Airlines' seat configuration does not require the exit, so the panel had been "plugged" after production. Officials are currently searching for the lost panel, believed to have landed along Route 217, west of the city.
Boeing's MAX models were involved in a pair of deadly crashes in 2018-19, which were ultimately linked to an unrelated issue with new autopilot software.
Listen to the pilot's call with air traffic control here.