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INSIDE | Hodgson retires as city’s chief administrative officer [3]



NEWSLINE 253-872-6600


Opinion | Local youth pastor, NFL player spreads the gospel of good health and fitness [5]

FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2013

Details revealed on airplane door that fell from the sky BY STEVE HUNTER

The landing gear door that fell last fall in a Kent neighborhood marked at least the 19th time that

similar part has fallen off one of the many Boeing 767 jets around the world over the last 12 years. The main landing gear shock strut door on the cargo jet dropped from the sky at about

6:45 a.m. Sept. 7. The door landed in the street just outside the home of Maureen Rinabarger in the 12800 block of Southeast 231st Way on the East Hill. The approximately 50-pound part, about

the size of a refrigerator door, did not injure anyone or cause any damage. But it definitely raised a lot of questions about the how and why a door suddenly would just drop

off a plane as it headed to Boeing Field. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Boeing and ABX [ more DOOR page 4 ]

K-M special needs student dies of unknown causes BY MICHELLE CONERLY

Paddling drills: Karla Kreger, left, and Julie Bunker dig their paddles into the waters of Lake Meridian early on Saturday morning practicing with the Kent Dragon Boat Association. MICHELLE CONERLY, Kent Reporter

‘Reach it out’ Dragon boat crews part the waters


In unison, a group of 12 people dig their paddles into the waters of Lake Meridian, grunting and counting with speed and endurance.

Splashing themselves with the cold water as their paddles quickly rise and fall, these dedicated individuals know the hard work is well worth the effort. By the time they count to 15 three times, the drill is over, their chests padded in colorful lifejackets heaving in and out to catch their breath. Not long after they finish do they slide those same paddles back into the glassy water, slowly propelling the slender boat [ more BOAT page 2 ]

A student in the special needs program at KentMeridian High School died April 16 from unknown causes. According to an email sent out by Principal Wade Barringer, 19-year-old Chris McCracken was taken to the hospital on April 15 complaining of back problems. He died the next morning. “Chris was a big talker with a lot to say,” Barringer wrote to staff and students. “He loved talking to people and having people listen to him. Chris grew a lot this year in his ability to communicate with others and advocate for himself. Chris will be missed.” McCracken lived at Integrated Living Services,

‘Evita’ opens on Kentridge stage BY MARK KLAAS

It is a daunting production, one few high school casts would attempt. But Jennifer Grajewski wanted to take that im-

portant step – to recreate a powerful, historical and culturally rich story. “There aren’t a whole lot of musicals out there that focus on Latino culture,” said Grajewski, the drama

and artistic director at Kentridge High School. “Our demographics and population are changing. I like to try to find pieces [ more EVITA page 9 ]

an organization in Kent that provides “residential services to people with profound/ severe developmental disabilities.” Ken Abercrombie, director of the facility, did not comment on the death of McCracken due to the center’s privacy policy. McCracken’s family, who lives in Renton, did not feel comfortable at this time to speak about the passing of their son. The special needs programs at Kent-Meridian serve the intellectually disabled student population. In McCracken’s case, he was accepted into The Outreach Program (TOP) at K-M that teaches social skills and functionality in the workplace. He would have [ more STUDENT page 2 ]

Kentridge’s Caelan Creaser, an award-winning actress, plays the lead role of Eva Peron, the First Lady of Argentina. COURTESY PHOTO

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[4] April 26, 2013 Air, Inc., the Ohio-based operator of the cargo jet, determined a loose bolt caused the door to fall off, according to FAA documents obtained by the Kent Reporter through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. “You’re kidding, oh my gosh,” Rinabarger said when told by a reporter about the previous 18 incidents of the part falling off the planes. “It’s one of those things where you wonder what if it had hit a home. And my husband had just come in the door from walking the dog.” A neighbor had just

pulled his car out of the driveway a few minutes before the plane’s door slammed to the street. Just moments later that morning school children were walking down the street. “All the ways it could have been horribly devastating,” said Rinabarger, who has lived with her husband in the neighborhood for 34 years. “Thank goodness it didn’t hit my husband or the dog or a kid but landed in the street.” After the FAA declined to release further details about the incident besides that a landing gear door had fallen from a Boeing

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...obituaries Marjorie Hagedorn


12-07-1918 - 04-04-2013

Marge was married to Jack Hagedorn for 65 years. They had two children, Bill Hagedorn and Jill Fuchek, five grand-children, and nine great grandchildren. Memorial service will be May 4th, 11 am, Kent First Church of the Nazarene. For information about donations, please login to:

To place a paid obituary, call Linda at 253.234.3506 All notices are subject to verification.

767, the Kent Reporter filed a FOIA request in February with the FAA. The agency last week mailed to the paper reports, photos, emails and a compact disc connected with the incident. A few pages were partially redacted by the FAA under FOIA exemptions that protect trade secrets, confidential commercial or financial information as well as inter-agency memos and letters that would be considered privileged because of attorney work product and attorneyclient privilege. The details that were released included investigations of the incident by the FAA, Boeing and ABX Air. “We had just talked a few days ago and wondered what had happened with all of that,” Rinabarger said about the investigation. The FAA, Boeing and ABX Air, agreed that a loose bolt caused the door to fall off about nine miles from its approach to Boeing Field. “The loose bolt caused the bolt to wear over time and eventually led to the failure of the bolt,” according to the analysis by ABX Air. “Once the mid-forward bolt fractured, this forced the door backward causing the remaining attachments to fracture and departure of the door.” The report also included a background statement from Boeing. “Boeing previously received reports of loose and/or fractured MLG shock strut door attach hardware,” according to documents. “Between 2000 and 2009 Boeing noted 18 cases of shock strut doors departing the airplane. Boeing has released Service Bulletins and Service Letters that provide instructions to inspect and install improved attachment hardware on

It fell from the sky: The landing gear door of a Boeing 767 fell from the sky last fall onto the street in the 12800 block of Southeast 231st Way on the East Hill. This is at least the 19th time that similar part has fallen off one of the company’s planes over the last 12 years. Courtesy Photo, FAA the shock strut doors.” The bulletins and letters for the 767 jets were issued five times between 1993 and 2003. A Boeing service bulletin issued in 2003 reported “approximately 50 fitting fractures (on the main gear strut doors) from seven different operators.” The report continued, “some operators are flying airplanes with the strut door removed or do frequent inspections that are necessary because of temporary repairs.” Doug Alder, a Boeing spokesman contacted Tuesday by email for further comment about the past problems with 767 landing gear doors said “at this point we can’t offer any comment or details.” ABX Air, a subsidiary of Air Transport Services Group, has operated the 767-281 aircraft that dropped its door since 2003. All Nippon Airways and Airborne Express previously owned the jet built 28 years ago, according to ABX Air inspected 33


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of its 767 aircraft after the Kent incident, a total of 66 shock strut door installations. Inspectors found 54 parts to be fine, six loose bolts, five loose rods and one bushing worn. “ABX does not consider these findings to be major or a deficiency with the ABX Maintenance Program,” according to documents. But the company recommended improvements to the maintenance program to include more specific checks of the bolts and mountings on the landing gear doors. The two pilots on the jet last fall over Kent didn’t know the door had fallen off. Crews performing a post-flight maintenance walk around at Boeing Field discovered the right main gear strut door was missing. Rinabarger called the Kent Police and the FAA when the part fell outside of her house. FAA inspectors picked up the part and took it the FAA’s Flight Standards Division office in Seattle. “We heard a big crash,”

she said. “My husband and I walked out and I saw a big metal thing. I thought it was a road work sign. But my husband walked over and saw it was a door to an airplane. It was crazy.” An FAA inspector told Rinabarger that planes lose little pieces all of the time. That wasn’t much comfort to Rinabarger. The FAA also told her she could call after the investigation was complete to find out more details. Rinabarger said she never made that call but wondered what had happened. For sometime after the plane part fell, Rinabarger and her neighbors looked at the approaching planes differently. “We always notice the landing gear doors because they are at the same altitude when they are coming in,” she said. “It was after they lowered the door that it fell off.” The crashing plane part onto Rinabarger’s street certainly sticks in her mind. “It was an interesting day for sure,” she said.

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