'It was pretty incredible': Portland resident Bob Sauer shares his experience of finding fallen Boeing 737 door plug in his backyard on 'GMA'

'It was pretty incredible': Portland resident Bob Sauer shares his experience of finding fallen Boeing 737 door plug in his backyard on 'GMA'
Correspondent Gio Benitez reports on Bob Sauer finding blown away airplane door plug in his backyard on the January 9, 2023 episode of 'GMA' (Screengrab/goodmorningamerica.com)

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: Bob Sauer, a science teacher from Portland, Oregon, spoke with 'Good Morning America' on January 9 to share his experience of finding an aircraft door blown away mid-flight in his backyard.

The Tuesday episode had co-host Robin Roberts and transportation correspondent Gio Benitez discussing the accident that befell a Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft of Alaska Airlines on January 5, at around 5.11 pm local time.

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According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the plane took off from Portland International Airport and had climbed to 16,000 feet, carrying 171 passengers, including three babies and four unaccompanied minors, when the dangerous mishap occurred.

"The NTSB now knows that the top fitting of the door plug was actually fractured. So the door moved up and then out," explained Benitez.

The report states that Alaska and United Airlines have since reported finding loose parts on some of their Boeing 737 Max 9 jets.

How did Bob Sauer discover the door plug?

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Sauer said that he was unaware of the detached part landing on his property because he was out of his house that night. "It was sitting here quietly in my backyard until I actually came back here on Sunday," he said.

Recalling how he came across the door plug, Sauer shared, "I had heard about the incident on Friday when it happened, and I've been listening to the news all weekend, but I hadn't realized…that the debris was in this neighborhood, so I hadn't been paying much attention to that at all."

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"A friend of mine called me and said you should probably check your backyard because they're still looking for the door. And so I thought about that for a while. And once I'd finished my work for the day, I came out to look for it, and that's when I found it," the science teacher said.

Measuring 26-by-46 inches and weighing 63 pounds, the plug was discovered completely intact, reported 'GMA'.

Bob Sauer's reaction to the discovery

"When I encountered it, it was really just disbelief. It was very hard to understand that what everybody was looking for in Portland was actually in my backyard, and I was the first one to actually see it," expressed Sauer.

"We were very careful not to touch anything during that time because I figured the NTSB would want to see it in the condition that had fallen in," he continued.

The authorities were immediately informed, but word got around the town fast as people came pouring in.

"There wasn't a lot of teaching going on," Sauer joked, before adding, "I didn't get much schoolwork done because so many people wanted to come in to interview me. My students wanted to know the story so I taught them during part of our classes together. It was pretty incredible to find it in my backyard when all of Portland was looking for it."


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