NTSB says Boeing overwrote security video in door plug investigation

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The NTSB told a Senate committee Wednesday that Boeing has erased security video footage of work related to the door plug (pictured) that blew out on a 737 jet mid-flight in January. The video was routinely overwritten because security footage is only retained for 30 days, according to Boeing. File Photo courtesy NTSB/UPI | License Photo
March 14 (UPI) — Boeing failed to retain security video of work on the door plug that blew out of a 737 Max in mid-flight in January, the National Transportation Safety Board said. In a letter to the Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation, NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said the agency was informed that security camera footage was “overwritten” after sending Boeing a verbal request for the footage of work being performed on the aircraft. Advertisement
“To date, we still do not know who performed the work to open, reinstall, and close the door plug on the accident aircraft. Boeing has informed us that they are unable to find the records documenting this work,” Homendy wrote.
The NTSB added the absence of that video footage will complicate the NTSB’s investigation. The agency said it is not seeking to identify the person who did the work for punitive purposes, but to “learn about Boeing’s quality-assurance processes and safety culture.”
The door plug work was done at Boeing’s Renton, Wash., facility in September 2023. The rivet repairs required the door plug that failed in flight to be opened, according to the NTSB.
The plug blew out during an Alaska Airlines flight just minutes after takeoff from Portland International Airport on Jan. 5.
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Homendy said Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun told her Boeing is unable to provide the names of those who did the work and has no records of the work performed. Boeing said it doesn’t keep security video longer than 30 days.
A Boeing statement Wednesday said the company will keep supporting the NTSB investigation “in the transparent and proactive fashion we have supported all regulatory inquiries into this accident.”
Boeing told ABC News it has responded “comprehensively” to all NTSB investigation requests.
“Early in the investigation, we provided the NTSB with names of Boeing employees, including door specialists, who we believed would have relevant information. We have now provided the full list of individuals on the 737 door team, in response to a recent request,” Boeing said. “With respect to documentation, if the door plug removal was undocumented there would be no documentation to share.”
In a Wednesday letter to Boeing NTSB Director Timothy J. LeBaron reminded the company of its obligations to “take all reasonable steps to ensure that investigative information is protected from public release. As explained above, failure to abide by these requirements may lead to removal of Boeing’s status as a party to the investigation.”
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LeBaron said before the NTSB’s adoption of the final report regarding the door plug accident, only NTSB personnel are authorized to publicly disclose investigative information.

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