United Airlines flight with missing panel lands safely in Medford

MEDFORD, Ore. – Today a United Airlines Flight landed safely in Medford (MFR) and was discovered to be missing a panel. The plane is a Boeing 737-800.

No issues were reported on the flight from San Francisco to Medford according to MFR Airport Director Amber Judd. It was during a post-flight check that an issue with the exterior of the aircraft was discovered (see picture). MFR staff searched airport property but didn’t find any evidence of the missing panel.

UA1246 was scheduled to leave Medford this afternoon for Denver using the same plane, tail #N26226, however the flight has now been delayed.

United let passengers know about the delay, writing on its website “We’re sorry for the delay. Our maintenance team needs to service equipment on the exterior of your aircraft before we depart, and we’ll keep you updated as we get more information.”

We have reached out to United for more information about the plane.

NBC5 News has a reporter at the airport and will have more details this evening at 5 & 6 pm. This post will be updated as we find out more.

UPDATE 3:38 pm: United Airlines says 139 passengers and 6 crew were on board flight 433 from SFO to MFR earlier Friday. It has released the following statement to NBC5 News:

“This afternoon United flight 433 landed safely at its scheduled destination at Rogue Valley International/Medford Airport. After the aircraft was parked at the gate, it was discovered to be missing an external panel. We’ll conduct a thorough examination of the plane and perform all the needed repairs before it returns to service. We’ll also conduct an investigation to better understand how this damage occurred.”

UPDATE 4:45 pm: According to the FAA registration of the tail number, the plane was manufactured in 1998. It was operated by Continental Airlines before United purchased it.

UA1246 from Medford to Denver has been cancelled and passengers were told they were going to be rebooked on new flights.

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