U.S. Probes Boeing 737 Flight Found with Lost External Panel after Landing

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating how a United Airlines Boeing 737-800 lost an external panel before landing safely in the US state of Oregon, the latest in a series of recent incidents involving aircraft manufactured by the company.

Flight 433 from San Francisco landed safely at the Rogue Valley International Medford Airport in Oregon at about 20:45 GMT on Friday, but a post-flight inspection revealed a missing panel, the FAA said.

Medford airport paused operations to check the runway and airfield for debris but none was found, according to the facility’s director, Amber Judd.

The missing panel was on the underside of the plane, where the wing meets the body and just next to the landing gear, United said.

There were 139 passengers and six crew members on board the 25-year-old aircraft. No injuries were reported.

Boeing has come under intense scrutiny since January when a panel that plugged a space left for an extra emergency door blew out midair on an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 flight shortly after takeoff from Portland, Oregon.

Pilots were forced to make an emergency landing. There were 174 passengers and six crew on board and some people reported minor injuries.

US regulators immediately launched investigations into the company’s safety and quality standards in its production process. The FAA grounded Boeing 737 Max 9 jetliners, affecting 171 planes worldwide and said it had identified “non-compliance issues in Boeing’s manufacturing process control, parts handling and storage, and product control” following an audit of the company.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the US Department of Justice also launched separate investigations into Boeing.

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