An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-9 MAX experienced a mid-air emergency on January 6, shortly after take-off from Portland International Airport.
With 177 people on board, the aircraft made an emergency landing in Oregon. US aviation authorities identified a blown-out airplane panel door plug as a key component for investigating the incident.
During the aftermath, Seanathan Bates found an iPhone, which had fallen from the aircraft, while walking on Barnes Road. The in-flight activation of the device was turned on, and Bates shared photos of the iPhone on social media, sparking speculation about its model—potentially an iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro. Despite the unusual incident, the discovered iPhone was in good condition, protected by a case.
Bates’ post gained significant attention on social media, amassing 6.6 million views and 41,000 likes. Alaska Flight 1282, involved in the emergency, reported a “pressurization issue” shortly after take-off.
“Wow. I drop mine out of my pocket, it breaks. This one from 16k, just fine… SMH. Good find!”, a user commented.
“Two decades later, a replacement for the ‘indestructible’ Nokia 3310 has finally arrived! Try beating a depressurization and free fall from 16,000ft!”, another user wrote.
The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed the incident and stated that the plane swiftly returned to Portland with no major injuries. Images circulated on social media depicted a noticeable hole in the aircraft’s side panel, exposing emergency oxygen masks.
Following the event, various airlines and safety bodies globally grounded certain versions of the Boeing 737 MAX 9 jets for inspections.
Numerous flights were canceled, and the Federal Aviation Administration mandated immediate inspections before allowing affected Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes to resume flights.