Smoke in Cargo Area Causes American Airlines to Make Emergency Landing

An American Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing at a regional airport in central Texas on Friday after the pilots detected smoke in the plane’s cargo area.

The pilots of American Airlines flight 385 successfully landed the plane at Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport and brought the aircraft to a full stop, according to a news release from the city of Killeen, Texas. They initiated the emergency landing after becoming aware of the smoke shortly after 2 pm local time.

Robert Gray Army Airfield Fire and Emergency services were dispatched to the aircraft, and all 35 passengers and three crew members were safely deplaned and evaluated by emergency personnel, according to the news release. None of the passengers or crew were found to have illnesses or injuries.

Officials could not find the cause of the smoke and the plane was cleared to return to service, the city said.

On Friday, an American Airlines flight departing Dallas had to make an emergency landing in Killeen, Texas, after pilots detected smoke in the plane’s cargo area. Above, an American Airlines Boeing 737 MAX airplane takes off on a test flight from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas, on December 2, 2020.
Cooper NEILL/Getty Images

The flight had departed Dallas at 1:10 pm on Friday with a final destination of Killeen, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware. American Airlines has scheduled on Saturday and Sunday the same flight from Dallas to Killeen, a city of about 153,000 that’s home to the Fort Hood Army base.

news week reached out to American Airlines and the city of Killeen for additional comment.

Other flights this month had delays or were forced to make emergency landings for more dramatic reasons.

An American Airlines flight headed from Connecticut to Miami was diverted to Norfolk, Virginia due to a mechanical issue earlier this month, Portsmouth, Virginia news station WVBT reported. The airline sent another aircraft to Norfolk to transport the 147 people on the plane to Miami.

An AirAsia flight from Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur to Tawau, Sabah on Thursday, had to divert after passengers spotted a snake in an overhead luggage compartment. The airline called it a “very rare incident.”

On Wednesday, a Frontier Airlines flight was delayed from taking off from Cleveland, Ohio, when a passenger physically assaulted a gate agent. The passenger reportedly reacted violently after the gate agent told him he had too much to drink and needed to exit the aircraft. The man said he was the only fan of the Cincinnati Bengals, who are playing in Super Bowl LVI this weekend, and had been drinking too much.

The same day, a flight from New York to Florida was forced to land in Raleigh, North Carolina after a passenger began threatening others onboard the aircraft.

Flight diversions are rare events. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, less than 1 percent of flights by major US air carriers were diverted in 2020 (the most recent year data is available for) as well as subsequent years.

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