Local News

Investigators Looking into Why Boeing 737 Flight Lost Panel between SF and Medford

News Image
An exterior panel of a Boeing 737 carrying passengers on a United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Medford appears to have torn off mid-flight Friday, marking the latest in a string of recent high-profile mishaps for Boeing planes.

A photo of the plane shows a hole in the fuselage, exposing what appears to be mechanical components of the aircraft. United said the panel was missing from a spot where one of the wings meets the aircraft's body, near the landing gear. United did not answer questions about what caused the panel to fall off.

The Oregonian reports the plane is a Boeing 737-800, according to United, though the FAA lists it as a Boeing 737-824. It is not a Boeing 737 Max 9, which is the model of plane that made an emergency landing in Portland after a door plug flew off of the Alaska Airlines aircraft about six minutes into a January 5th flight.

Friday's Flight 433 landed shortly before noon as scheduled at Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport, said Airport Director Amber Judd. United said none of the 139 passengers and six crew members were injured. Judd said it was only after the plane was on the ground that the problem was found. United confirmed that the pilots didn't declare an emergency before landing in Medford because "there was no indication of the damage during the flight."

Boeing didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about Friday's flight. United said it's investigating. The plane was manufactured 25 years ago, according to the FAA.

Judd said she doesn't know where the panel flew off. The airport briefly closed while workers inspected the grounds to see if the panel had fallen just before landing. After finding nothing, the airport reopened.
Posted on 3/18/24 4:52AM by Sam Marsh