‘Everyone was eerily calm,’ recalls passenger aboard ill-fated Alaska Airlines flight

Jan 10, 2024, 7:34 AM | Updated: 8:45 am

Oregon Emergency Landing - (Elizabeth Le via AP)...

Oregon Emergency Landing - (Elizabeth Le via AP)

(Elizabeth Le via AP)

Terror in the skies: A Vancouver, Washington, woman shares the harrowing moments after an airplane blowout over Portland.

Vicki Kreps and her two young grandchildren were among the 171 passengers on board Alaska Air Flight 1282 last Friday when a door plug blew off mid-flight.

She was remarkably calm herself, which she says is her personality. She is a longtime nurse and has always been able to keep her wits about her.

But she never imagined anything like this.

“It was extremely loud,” said Kreps. “It was the loudest experience I’ve ever had, you know, where hearing was a problem.”

That is how Vicki Kreps describes being on Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 as it ascended 16,000 feet when the door plug on the 737 MAX 9 plane blew off.

“There was a little, what I want to describe was somebody putting on the brakes,” Kreps said. “There was a little pitch forward in my seat, and then a big gush of wind that pushed me back against my seat.”

That’s when the nightmare scenario every passenger fears happened.

“The oxygen masks came down,” Kreps said. “And the pilot came on and said ‘we’ve experienced decompression of the cabin.’”

But she was not alone. Seated next to her on Row 19 were her two grandchildren, seven-year-old Brady and five-year-old Brinley.

“Brady said, ‘So, they want us to put these on?’” she said. “And I said ‘Yep.’ So, he grabbed his. He put his own on. I put mine on and I assisted Brinley.”

She says the crew immediately began the descent. The blowout had happened behind her on Row 26. She eventually snapped a photograph of the hole in the fuselage.

But she says everyone near her was “eerily calm.”

“One of the lap infants on the plane was on my row,” Kreps said. “Mom was sort of wrangling with him to keep the mask on, and at some point, I placed my hand on her shoulder and then we talked a little bit just to make sure she didn’t feel alone traveling with three kids by herself.”

Kreps says once they landed, things felt normal, but their ears were burning because of the blowout and the rapid descent.

As for flying again? She and her grandchildren flew at Alaska’s expense the next day. After all, she still had to get them home to Southern California.

But she does say she hopes the investigators work to make sure this never happens again.


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‘Everyone was eerily calm,’ recalls passenger aboard ill-fated Alaska Airlines flight