Passenger phone found on ground after Alaska Airlines emergency

NTSB experts arrived on Saturday to investigate Alaska Airlines Flight 1282.

January 8, 2024, 4:40 AM

As Sean Bates went for a Sunday walk in Oregon, he was keeping an eye out for the door plug from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282.

The National Transportation Safety Board had asked the public for help locating the plug, which fell out of the Boeing 737 Max 9 moments after it took off from Portland International Airport on Friday night.

Bates had been scanning for the plug or other debris and as he walked along Barnes Road in Portland. But instead of the door plug, he found something that belonged to a passenger, he said.

"I found a phone sitting on the side of the road that had apparently fallen 16,000 feet," Bates said in a video recorded for social media Sunday.

Sean Bates, right, is seen with a National Transportation Safety Board staffer in Portland, Oregon, on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024.
Sean Bates

The phone Bates found under a roadside bush was fairly clean, he said. He noted that there were no scratches on it when he picked it up.

He said he was "a little skeptical" when he first found it, thinking perhaps it may have been tossed out of a passing vehicle. But the phone wasn't locked, so he opened it up, he said.

"It was in airplane mode with a travel confirmation and baggage claim for Alaska 1282," Bates said. "So, I had to go call the NTSB."

A phone that fell from Alaska Airlines flight 1282 is seen in Portlan, Oregon, on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in a photo taken by Sean Bates.
Sean Bates

Bates said an NTSB staffer told him is was the second passenger phone found from the flight. The NTSB confirmed the incident.

The door plug was found by a teacher in their backyard Sunday, the NTSB said later. The organization said it plans to retrieve it.

Six crew members and 171 passengers were on board Flight 1282 bound for Ontario, California, the airline said. The plane landed safely after the in-flight emergency.

"The safety of our guests and employees is always our primary priority," Alaska said in a statement, "so while this type of occurrence is rare, our flight crew was trained and prepared to safely manage the situation."

ABC News' Amanda Maile, Sam Sweeney and Kevin Shalvey contributed to this story.

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