Mid-flight chaos struck Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on its way from Portland, Oregon, to Ontario, Canada after an explosion ripped a hole in the side of the fuselage, forcing an emergency landing and terrifying passengers in the process. The stunning aftermath was captured by Alaskan Airlines’ flier and TikToker Vee (@vee_wins) in a viral video titled, “Be F*cking For Real,” that has amassed a staggering 10.4 million views as of Sunday.
The harrowing incident, which is making headlines across the globe, occurred just six minutes after takeoff; as the aircraft approached speeds of 440 mph and an altitude of 16,000 feet, it experienced an explosive decompression—creating a gaping hole in the side of the aircraft.
@vee_wins bffr @Alaska Airlines #alaskaair #planemalfunction ♬ Funny – Gold-Tiger
Vee’s video, which takes place just moments after landing, opens with her holding an oxygen mask to her face with the caption: “POV: woke up from your plane nap thinking it was turbulence.” She then turns the camera around to reveal the rest of the cabin in disarray and nervous passengers wearing oxygen masks, before zooming in on a large hole in the side of the airplane with the caption: “turns out the wall of the plane flew off while in the air.”
The shocking video has inspired a flurry of comments expressing fear and empathy, with others remarking on the state of air travel after an already difficult holiday travel season. “Do you get a refund or discount,” one popular comment asked, while another echoed a feeling of unease about flying in general, when they stated, “Um I’m literally taking Alaska tomorrow.”
The most popular comment took a more macro approach, reflecting on the ubiquity of social media in reporting by remarking, “I’m so glad we live in a tik tok generation bc I just saw someone else’s video who’s a few rows in front of you.”
The explosion, the cause of which is currently under investigation, triggered a rapid depressurization of the cabin, and resulted in the deployment of supplemental oxygen; forcing the plane to quickly descend to a lower altitude in order to equalize the pressure. Fortunately, all 174 passengers and six crew members were unharmed. Unfortunately, the incident is not without precedent and has prompted Alaska Airlines to ground its Boeing 737-9 fleet pending further FAA investigation.
Last spring, one of Boeing’s manufacturers issued a warning regarding quality control on parts for the 737-9, but concluded they presented no “immediate safety risk.” CEO Ben Minicucci announced a precautionary grounding for thorough maintenance and safety checks, resulting in the cancellation of 160 flights as of Saturday, affecting nearly 23,000 passengers. The involved aircraft, certified just two months ago, had logged 145 flights since November prior to this incident. Boeing has pledged its full cooperation as safety concerns linger around the Max series– frustrating plans and causing unease in passengers as the investigation continues.
Vee’s video and harrowing first-hand account had millions of viewers on the edge of their seat, exposing the power of social media platforms like TikTok to provide the public with live accounts of national, and in this case, international breaking news. In an era where social media is on the front lines of top headlines, Vee’s video showcases how viral media contends with the mainstream media in getting news to the people.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Alaska Airlines via email and Vee via TikTok comment for further information.