August 6, 2008

Jet Makes Emergency Landing at LAX

By Art Marroquin, Daily Breeze, Torrance, Calif.

Aug. 6--An American Airlines flight out of Los Angeles International Airport had to turn around and make an emergency landing Tuesday when the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit and passenger cabin shortly after takeoff.

The pilot of the Boeing 757 jetliner landed in reverse direction on the south airfield at 9:43 a.m., according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor.

The crew deployed oxygen masks in the cockpit as the pilot landed the plane at LAX. Passengers quickly evacuated the plane -- on live television -- using inflatable emergency slides.

No major injuries were reported among the 188 passengers and seven crew members aboard Flight 31, which was destined for Honolulu.

There was no sign of a fire aboard the plane, but airline officials are investigating whether the smoky smell may have emanated from hot equipment or a mechanical failure, according to Tim Smith, a spokesman for American Airlines.

"We know there was no actual fire or flames on board, so that means we will start looking at mechanical problems that may have caused smoke, smells or haze during the flight," Smith said.

At least six passengers reportedly suffered scrapes and bruises on their way down the slides and were treated at the scene by firefighters, according to Paul Haney, a deputy executive director at LAX.

The stranded passengers were placed on a bus and taken to Terminal 4, where they snacked on food and beverages provided

by American Airlines.

After given the all-clear, the passengers were allowed to return to the grounded jetliner to retrieve their personal belongings, Smith said. They were later placed on a different plane that took off for Honolulu by 2:20 p.m.

"After we found that everyone was OK, our biggest concern was accommodating the needs of the passengers and getting them to their destination," Smith said.

The inbound south runway was closed for about an hour as the plane sat on the tarmac, according to airport officials. It was later moved off the airfield for inspection by airline mechanics.

The incident delayed the landing of an Airbus A380 that was making its third demonstration flight to the airport. The plane, flown by Emirates Airlines, landed just after 10 a.m., about 20 minutes behind schedule.

At least six other arriving flights and five departures were also delayed while the incident unfolded, according to the FAA.

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Staff writer Sandy Mazza contributed to this article.

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