The aircraft had been flying for 17 minutes, as it was passing from 22,000 to 23,000 feet (6,700 to 7,000 m), when the flight crew heard a loud "thump", which shook the plane. About a second and a half later, the forward cargo door blew off. It swung out with such force that it tore a hole in the fuselage. Pressure differentials and aerodynamic forces caused the cabin floor to cave in, and 10 seats (G and H of rows 8 through 12) were ejected from the cabin. All eight passengers seated in these locations were killed, as was the passenger in seat 9F. Seats 8G and 12G were unoccupied. A gaping hole was left in the aircraft, through which a flight attendant, Mae Sapolu in the business-class cabin, was almost blown out. Purser Laura Brentlinger hung on to the steps leading to the upper deck, and was dangling from them when the decompression occurred. Passengers and crew members saw her clinging to a seat leg and were able to pull her back inside the cabin, although she was severely injured.