US federal officials have ordered the immediate grounding of Boeing 737-9 Max jetliners after an Alaska Airlines plane suffered a blowout that left a gaping hole in the side of its fuselage.
The required inspections will take around four to eight hours per aircraft and will affect about 171 planes worldwide.
The move comes after the jetliner blew out a window and a portion of its fuselage shortly after take-off three miles above Oregon on Friday night, creating a gaping hole that forced the pilots to make an emergency landing as its 174 passengers and six crew members donned oxygen masks.
No one was seriously hurt as the depressurised plane returned safely to Portland International Airport about 20 minutes after it departed.
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