FBI Indicates Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 Passengers as Potential Crime Victims

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has communicated to passengers aboard the Alaska Airlines, Boeing 737 MAX 9 during a mid-air emergency on January 5th that they might be considered victims of a crime.

These letters, part of the procedural process in certain criminal investigations conducted by the Justice Department, indicate progress in the investigation into the MAX 9 emergency.

The letters, issued on Tuesday, inform recipients that the FBI has identified them “as a possible victim of a crime. This case is currently under investigation by the FBI. …A criminal investigation can be a lengthy undertaking, and, for several reasons, we cannot tell you about its progress at this time.”

The Seattle Times previously reported on the existence of these letters.

When reached for comment, an FBI spokesperson in Seattle declined, adhering to Justice Department policy, which stipulates that it “does not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.”

FBI Indicates Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 Passengers as Potential Crime Victims
FAA grounds MAX 9, and orders Boeing to address quality-control issues after a mid-air emergency incident.

In 2022, the Justice Department updated its guidelines regarding the notification of potential crime victims. This action followed complaints from relatives of some of the 346 individuals who lost their lives in two Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashes in 2018 and 2019.

These relatives asserted that their legal rights were violated when the department reached a deferred prosecution agreement with Boeing in January 2021 without informing them.

Additionally, the department issued an apology for not meeting with the crash victims’ relatives before announcing the deal. The agreement marked the culmination of a 21-month investigation into the design and development of the 737 MAX 8.

Boeing declined to provide a comment on Friday. However, earlier this month, the company stated its commitment to continue fully cooperating and maintaining transparency with all ongoing government investigations.

FBI Indicates Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 Passengers as Potential Crime Victims
NTSB finds crucial bolts missing from Boeing MAX 9 delivered months earlier, raising safety concerns.

Alaska Airlines stated that it is fully cooperating with the investigation and does not believe it is the focus of the probe.

During the midair emergency, a door plug panel detached from the side of the MAX 9 aircraft at 16,000 feet, resulting in a refrigerator-sized, rectangular hole in the plane.

Despite this, the aircraft managed to land safely with all 171 passengers and six crew members on board. However, seven passengers and one flight attendant sustained minor injuries.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reported that four crucial bolts appeared to be absent from the aircraft, which had been delivered by Boeing several months earlier. Boeing, in response, stated its belief that necessary documentation detailing the removal of these bolts was never generated.

Following the incident, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) imposed a grounding of the MAX 9 for several weeks.

Additionally, the FAA prohibited Boeing from increasing the production rate of the MAX and mandated the development of a comprehensive plan within 90 days to address “systemic quality-control issues.”

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
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