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NTSB rips Boeing for failing to produce key door plug documents

CNN  —  Boeing has not turned over important records to investigators probing the door plug blowout on a 737 Max earlier this year, investigators say. “Boeing has not provided us with the documents and information that we have requested numerous times over the past few months, specifically with respect to opening, closing and removal of the door and the team that does that work at the Renton facility,” National Transportation Safety Board chairwoman Jennifer Homendy said Wednesday in testimony before the US Senate Commerce Committtee. She testified that because of Boeing’s actions, NTSB investigators do not know who on the Boeing assembly line removed and reinstalled the door plug that – months later while the plane was in service carrying passengers – blew out. Jennifer Homendy, Chair of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), testifies before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee at the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on March 06, 2024 in Washington, DC. Homendy said that Boeing has not fully cooperated with the NTSB Board's investigation into Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 door plug incident. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images NTSB investigators believe Boeing employees removed critical bolts that hold the plug in place, but did not reinstall the bolts before the plane left the Boeing factory in October 2023. The plane flew about 150 commercial flights before the door plug flew off the plane mid-flight on January 5, just over two months ago. NTSB investigators have made multiple visits to Boeing facilities and created a special team to handle requesting and processing documents from Boeing and its key contractor, Spirit AeroSystems. “There is one team – one team –  that deals with the doors,” Homendy said.  The team includes 25 employees and a manager, and she called it “absurd” that the list of names has not been provided:  “Why we don’t have those names today two months later is really disappointing.” Homendy said Boeing has not provided the names and has told the NTSB it cannot find documentation about the removal and reinstallation of the door plug. Boeing did not immediately comment when contacted by CNN. She also raised concerns with Spirit’s approach to the probe, saying three individuals Spirit presented to the NTSB for interviews actually did not work for the company, and instead worked for a subcontractor.   Spirit has not immediately commented on Homendy’s comments. Homendy said the Federal Aviation Administration has been “very cooperative” with the NTSB probe.