FBI tells passengers on Alaska Airlines flight they may be 'victim of a crime'

Lawyer representing Alaska Airlines passengers said DOJ investigation brings 'leverage' to their litigation

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) sent passengers who had been on an Alaska Airlines flight that had a door plug blow out mid-flight a letter saying they may be a "possible victim of a crime."

"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 office in Seattle said in a letter to passengers on Alaska Flight 1282. Attorney Mark Lindquist, who represents passengers on the flight, sent a copy of the March 19 letter to FOX Business.

The FBI said an investigation is currently underway and that, given the "large number of potential victims in this case," they will likely not receive another notice by mail.


"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. The FBI did inform passengers about the type of services they are entitled to as part of the FBI's Victim Assistance Program.

Boeing Facility Entrance Sign
Signage outside the Boeing Co. manufacturing facility in Renton, Washington. (David Ryder/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)
Lindquist told FOX Business that he welcomes the Justice Department's investigation.
"We want answers, accountability, and safer Boeing planes. The DOJ brings a lot of leverage to our litigation," he said.
Alaska Airlines told FOX Business in a statement, "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 and Boeing declined to comment.

Earlier this month, the Department of Justice opened a criminal investigation into the January incident when a door plug detached and left a gaping hole in the side of the Boeing 737 Max 9 at 16,000 feet. The DOJ has already contacted some passengers and crew members, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.

It has also interviewed pilots and flight attendants who had been on board. Alaska Airlines told the outlet that it was "fully cooperating" and does not believe the carrier is a "target of the investigation."
Inside of Alaska Airlines flight

The NTSB's preliminary report reveals that missing bolts played a factor in the mid-flight crisis. (NTSB / Fox News)

Days later, a federal audit of the beleaguered airplane manufacturer revealed that there were over 30 failures in the company's operations.

Boeing failed 33 aspects of the audit with a total of 97 points of noncompliance, according to The New York Times. The company passed 56 points of the audit.
TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
BATHE BOEING CO.188.49+0.72+0.39%
ALKALASKA AIR GROUP INC.39.76+0.98+2.53%
Spirit AeroSystems, which produces parts of the Max fuselages, was also audited and failed seven of 13 audit points, the outlet reported.

FAA Administrator Michael Whitaker said in an interview with "NBC Nightly News" that his recent trip to Boeing manufacturing facilities left him with the belief that "there are issues around the safety culture at Boeing."

He said that 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."

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