Passengers on Terrifying Flight Aboard Boeing Plane Get Letters from FBI Alerting Them

Passengers on Terrifying Flight Aboard Boeing Plane Get Letters from FBI Alerting Them

There’s more bad news for Boeing.

The aircraft manufacturer is either having a run of bad luck or is suffering from internal rot like so many once-iconic corporations.

Maybe it’s a combination of both.

Whatever the case, passengers who rely on Boeing aircraft to get from one place to another in a world where air travel often is a necessity have a right to feel reasonably safe when they board a plane.

But that’s not what happened when passengers got on Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 in Portland, Oregon, on Jan. 5, according to The Seattle Times.

While the plane was in mid-air, a piece of the fuselage of a Boeing 737 MAX 9 plane broke off. Little did the passengers know there was a possibility the incident wasn’t a mechanical failure.

The Seattle FBI office later informed the passengers on the flight that each of them may be a “possible victim of a crime.” On Tuesday, the passengers were informed the FBI had launched a criminal investigation following the Jan. 5 incident.

An attorney representing several of the passengers showed the letter to the Times. Sent by an FBI victim support representative from the Seattle office, the letter read, “As a Victim Specialist with the Seattle Division, I’m 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 a lengthy undertaking, and for several reasons, we cannot tell you about its progress at this time,” the letter said.

Mark Lindquist, an attorney who represents passengers on the flight, which was bound for Ontario, California, told Fox Business that he welcomes the investigation by the Department of Justice.

“We want answers, accountability, and safer Boeing planes. The DOJ brings a lot of leverage to our litigation,” he said.

It was reported earlier this month that the Justice Department had opened a criminal investigation into Boeing. The investigation included interviews with the pilot and aircrew of the Alaska Airlines flight. The department reportedly sent subpoenas to potential witnesses.

On Thursday, the public affairs manager for the FBI’s Seattle division, Steve Bernd, said Justice Department policy prevented him from commenting on the matter, according to the Times.

A federal audit of Boeing revealed there were over 30 failures in the company’s operations. Citing the New York Times, Fox reported that Boeing had 97 points of non-compliance on the audit and outright failed 33 aspects. Fifty-six points of the audit were passed.

A company that manufactures parts of the MAX fuselages, Spirit AeroSystems, also was audited. Of 13 audit points, the company failed over half of them, Fox reported.

In an interview with “NBC Nightly News,” FAA Administrator Michael Whitaker said his recent trip to Boeing’s manufacturing facilities left him believing “there are issues around the safety culture at Boeing.”

Talk about stating the obvious. There are plenty of  “issues” concerning America in general — from corrupt leadership to the lackadaisical attitudes of many professionals — and they are manifesting inside not only the once-coveted halls of academia, courtrooms and government but also inside industries where “Safety First” once was a sacred motto.

Whitaker said Boeing’s “priorities have been on production and not on safety and quality, and so what we really are focused on now is shifting that focus from production to safety and quality.”

In other words, the corporate culture at Boeing was one of greed, not excellence.

Sound familiar?

But it’s not just a matter of profit. People’s lives — like the passengers on Flight 1282 — are at stake.

According to the Times, the DOJ’s criminal probe into Boeing might focus on whether the company “violated the terms of a 2021 agreement with federal prosecutors” following “two MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed more than 300 people.”

As part of the agreement with federal prosecutors, Boeing could side-step criminal prosecution if it met certain conditions for three years. Included in those conditions was the responsibility to report any evidence of fraud from its employees or agents and beef up its compliance program. The agreement would have expired two days after the Jan. 5 blowout.

On Thursday, Boeing declined to comment on the matter. For its part, Alaska Airlines said, “In an event like this, it’s normal for the DOJ to be conducting an investigation. We are fully cooperating and do not believe we are a target of the investigation.”

The FBI said it anticipates a “large number of potential victims in this case.”

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This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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