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Oregon Plane Experiences Midair Pressurization Issue, Forced to Make Emergency Landing

An Alaska Airlines flight made an emergency landing at Portland International Airport on Friday evening after experiencing what the federal authorities described as a midair “pressurization issue” that passengers said blew out a chunk of the fuselage.

The airline said that Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 had made a safe emergency landing carrying 171 passengers and six crew members after returning to the Portland airport shortly after takeoff for Ontario, Calif. The crew reported a “pressurization issue” before landing, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a separate statement.

A passenger, Vi Nguyen of Portland, said that she had been asleep and woke up to a loud sound during the flight. Then she saw a large hole in the side of the aircraft.

“I open up my eyes and the first thing I see is the oxygen mask right in front of me,” Ms. Nguyen, 22, said. “And I look to the left and the wall on the side of the plane is gone.”

“The first thing I thought was, ‘I’m going to die.’”

The plane was a Boeing 737-9 Max, according to FlightAware, a flight tracking website. The airline, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board said that they were investigating what had happened.

Ms. Nguyen, who was traveling with her friends, said that after landing they had been told they could board another flight to Ontario later that night.

Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 departed for Ontario International Airport at 5:07 p.m., according to FlightAware and was diverted back to Portland six minutes later.

The plane reached a maximum altitude of about 16,000 feet, when its speed was recorded at more than 440 miles per hour, and landed in Portland at 5:27 p.m., FlightAware data showed.

Mark Walker contributed reporting.

This is a developing story.

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