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‘We have identified you as possible victim of crime’: FBI tells passengers on Alaska Flight

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NEW DELHI: Passengers on an Alaska Airlines flight that had to make an emergency landing due to a fuselage panel detachment earlier this year are now receiving letters from the FBI, indicating that they may be considered victims of a potential crime.
The FBI’s Seattle office has reached out to passengers, saynig, “As a victim specialist with the Seattle division, I’m contacting you because we have identified you as a possible victim of a crime.”
The FBI letter discloses that the incident is under criminal investigation, emphasizing that updates on the progress of the inquiry cannot be provided at this time.The missing panel, known as a door plug, detached at 16,000 feet altitude shortly after the flight departed from Portland, Oregon, in January.
The National transportation safety board’s preliminary report revealed that the panel was lacking four securing bolts intended for its proper installation. Steve Bernd, a spokesperson for the FBI in Seattle, and Boeing declined to comment on the ongoing criminal investigation.
Mark Lindquist, representing some passengers, expressed support for the investigation, stressing the need for answers, accountability, and enhanced safety measures for Boeing aircraft.
The Wall Street Journal reported that investigators have contacted passengers and crew members for further information.
Boeing faces multiple challenges, including recent FAA findings of manufacturing process issues and a Justice Department review of a 2021 settlement related to fatal crashes involving its Max 8 planes. Federal investigators are striving to identify employees involved in the flawed door plug.
Boeing informed Senate and Safety Board members of the lack of records regarding the employees responsible for the door plug. The Justice Department had agreed to drop a criminal charge against Boeing in exchange for a substantial payment, primarily for compensating customers affected by the crashes.

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