Explainer: Missing door ‘plug’ may hold vital clues to how a gaping hole blew open on a jetliner

Investigators were searching Sunday for the piece of fuselage that blew off a Boeing airliner over Oregon on Friday, hoping to gain physical evidence of what went wrong.

The gaping hole in the side of the Alaska Airlines jet opened up where aircraft maker Boeing fits a “plug” to cover an emergency exit that the airline does not use.
The plugs are on most Boeing 737 Max 9 jets. The Federal Aviation Administration has temporarily grounded those planes until they undergo inspections of the area around the door plug.

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