PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The Boeing jetliner that suffered an inflight blowout over Oregon was not being used for flights to Hawaii after a warning light that could have indicated a pressurization problem lit up on three different flights, a federal official said Sunday.
Alaska Airlines decided to restrict the aircraft from long flights over water so that if the warning light reappeared, the plane "could return very quickly to an airport," National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy said Sunday night.
Homendy cautioned that the pressurization light might be unrelated to Friday’s incident in which a plug covering an unused exit door blew off the Boeing 737 Max 9 as it cruised about three miles (4.8 kilometers) over Oregon.
The NTSB said that the lost door plug was found Sunday night near Portland, Oregon by a school teacher who found it in his backyard, she said.
At a news conference Sunday night, Homendy also provided new details about the chaotic scene that unfolded on the plane, in the aircraft, and in the cockpit when the plug blew away, leaving a gap in the side of the plane. No one was injured, and the plane landed safely back in Portland.
The cockpit door flew open and the depressurization ripped the headset off the first officer and the captain lost part of her headset. A quick reference checklist kept within easy reach of the flight crew also flew out the door, Homendy said.
"It was described as chaos and very loud between the air and everything going on around them and it was very violent," she said.