FBI advises passengers onboard Alaska flight with doorplug blowout may be victims of criminal act

The passengers who were on board Alaska Airlines flight 1282 on January 5 have received notifications from the FBI that they are possible victims of a crime.

The letters went out to passengers on Tuesday, letting each person know that “this case is currently under investigation by the FBI.”

“When you get a letter from the DOJ saying you may be the victim of a crime, it’s a major development,” Mark Lindquist, an attorney for several passengers in a civil suit against Boeing, Alaska Airlines and Spirit AeroSystems.

Daniel Laurence who represents other passengers in a class action lawsuit said the Department of Justice told him that as of now his clients are not being subpoenaed.

“The letter does not identify the nature of the crime and it does not identify exactly who may have committed the crime, obviously it’s someone who has something to do with flight 1282 or they wouldn’t be reaching out to us,” Laurence said.

This isn’t the first time Boeing has been under investigation by the Justice Department.

Following the Boeing 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019, the aircraft manufacturer was charged with Conspiracy to Defraud the United States.

However, Boeing cut a deal with the DOJ and entered into a deferred prosecution agreement.

Boeing was ordered to pay over $2.5 billion dollars, $243.6 million for a criminal penalty, $1.77 billion to MAX airline customers and $500 million for a crash victims beneficiary fund.

“I thought, and my clients thought, that after 346 people died in the two MAX 8 crashes that Boeing would get it together unfortunately they did not and now we see the DOJ coming in with a large hammer,” Lindquist said.

That agreement was filed on January 7 of 2021 and Boeing agreed to a three-year term.

In the agreement, Boeing agreed to “strengthen its compliance program and to enhance compliance program reporting requirements.”

That three-year term was just two days shy of ending when the door plug blew off Flight 1282.

“Whether or not Boeing has committed a crime has yet to be determined, whether or not our clients are victims of a crime has yet to be determined and to what extent and whether they’d have to give testimony is not yet known,” Laurence said.

Two other key players could be part of this and that is Alaska Airlines and Spirit AeroSystems.

“Just because Boeing is guilty as sin, doesn’t mean Alaska is innocent. Alaska has its own problems here,” Lindquist said. “They decided that this plane was not safe to fly over the ocean and yet somehow it was safe to fly over land.”

Alaska Airlines sent KIRO 7 a statement saying, ”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.”

KIRO 7 also reached out to Boeing for comment and were told they are not commenting on this.

KIRO 7 also reached out to Spirit AeroSystems who said they do not comment on legal issues.