Smoke onboard diverts American Airlines flight

Barbara Pevley
Barbara Pevley
Michelle Wells
Michelle Wells
David Applegate
David Applegate

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - An American Airlines flight to Honolulu experienced scary moments Tuesday, as a smoky smell was reported in the cabin and cockpit.

The Boeing 757 returned to Los Angeles International where it made an emergency landing just before 10 am California time.

For nearly 200 passengers aboard American Airlines flight 31, a typical air trip turned to terror about an hour after departing Los Angeles.

"My husband said there's something wrong take it out, so I took out my I-pod and they said there was something wrong with the plane and It was obvious because it was filling with smoke," said Passenger Barbara Pevley.

Passengers say the 757's cabin and cockpit started filling with haze. The flight's captain made the call to turn back to LAX, as the jet went into emergency mode.

"Thirty seconds later the masks dropped and my little sister who's absolutely terrified of airplanes started to freak out," said Passenger Michelle Wells.

"Only half of the air masks worked on the plane and then a few of them didn't work like me and my neighbors, so we just had to rough it," said Passenger David Applegate.

Evacuating down emergency slides, passengers were later put on a different aircraft for their second transpacific flight of the day.

Chopper 8 caught an exclusive view of Flight 31's second plane landing at Honolulu International Airport hours after its scheduled arrival.

At the baggage claim, passengers are still shaken.

"It's definitely scarred me with planes, you think twice about going on planes, you take it for granted that you fly on a plane and nothing bad is going to happen," said Applegate.

For some its cell phone pictures and video that capture this unique experience, but for others like Barbara Pevley, it's the memories of what could have been.

"We're part of American Airlines flight 31 to Hawaii that had to go back because of fire on board the plane, so we're all kind of connected in a way, that's kind of cool," said Pevley.

Their scare in the air now over, the passengers of flight 31 arrive in the aloha state with aloha.

Fire crews inspected the aircraft and say there was no sign of any active fire on board. Meanwhile, aviation officials say inspectors will be on scene investigating the source of the smoke.