A window of a commuter jet with 18 people aboard blew out at 14,000 feet Wednesday, dragging a man into the opening as other passengers clung to him. The pilot made a quick descent and emergency landing.
The man, identified as Gayle Sears of Portland, suffered minor cuts and bruises and was treated for possible shock before his release from Highline Community Hospital near Sea-Tac Airport, said Horizon Air spokesman Nancy Hamilton.Although Sears was buckled in his seat in the second row on the right side of the Fairchild Metro 3 commuter plane, the sudden depressurization dragged him toward the window as other passengers grabbed him, passengers told officials.
Sears said the rush of cabin air to the outside threw him partially through the opening. He held on with his hands and arms as one shoulder and his head jammed through the opening.
"You wonder, is this all there is? Am I going to hit the ground," Sears said at the hospital.
Airline officials said Sears' wide shoulders and the efforts of a flight attendant and a passenger who grabbed on to him as he was pulled toward the window may have saved him from being dragged out.
Hamilton said the window blew out as the plane passed over Olympia on a flight from Portland, Ore., to Seattle. The window popped out completely and cleanly, the Horizon Air spokeswoman said.
"There was no indication that the window had been struck," Hamilton said. "We consider this to be an isolated incident."