Boeing lawsuit: Seat belt saved passenger sitting next to door plug blowout

If it weren't for his seatbelt, a passenger who was on an Alaska Airlines flight over Oregon would have been sucked out of the plane, according to a recent lawsuit against Boeing.

Wisner Baum, a California-based law firm, said Cuong Tran was seated right in front of the hole that opened up on Flight 1282, causing the plane to rapidly decompress, pulling on everything inside.

"This hole just opened up on the side panel, and the next thing you know, my whole body lifted up," said Tran.  "My shoe and my socks flew off when it opened up, my phone that was in my hand also flew off too."

His seatbelt saved him, but his leg and foot were injured.  

"I was just stuck in that position trying to pull myself away from it," said Tran. "That’s probably the closest I've been to death. It was pretty scary to think about."

The lawsuit claims the suction immediately tore his shoes and socks from his feet, causing his leg to jerk and get trapped in the seat structure in front of him, injuring his foot.

Tran’s injured foot from mid-flight blowout

(via Wisner Baum)

Wisner Baum is representing Tran and six other passengers who were on the plane that suffered a mid-flight blowout.


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It's been one month since a door panel blew off a Boeing 737 Max 9 with more than 170 people on board.

"Our clients — and likely every passenger on that flight— suffered unnecessary trauma due to the failure of Boeing, Spirit AeroSystems, and Alaska Airlines to ensure that the aircraft was in a safe and airworthy condition," said trial attorney Timothy A. Loranger, who filed the lawsuit Tuesday in King County Superior Court.

The bolts needed to secure the door plug were never installed, according to multiple reports.

Cuong Tran was seated next to his friend, Huy Tran, who described the sound of the door plug blowing out as a "deafening explosion." When it ripped free from the fuselage, it caused an immediate and rapid decompression, exposing passengers to the noise of the wind and freezing outside temperatures.

Huy Tran shot video from his seat through the gaping hole as the plane descended to make an emergency landing:

A family from Claremont, California, is now in counseling to try and work through the trauma they experienced, according to the lawsuit.

"This lawsuit isn’t only about the unimaginable fear and suffering of the passengers on that plane, it is about a failure that should have never occurred," said Ari Friedman, partner at Wisner Baum. "We’re talking about a gaping hole ripping open mid-flight in the side of  a commercial jet. Properly installed bolts are the difference between safety and disaster, so there is no excuse for why those would be left out, or why quality control checks and routine inspections would miss them."


The lawsuit from Wisner Baum seeks punitive, compensatory and general damages for negligence, product construction/manufacturing defect liability, and failing to protect passengers from harm.

FOX 13 reached out to Boeing for comment, who said they had nothing to add at this time.