January 29

Smoke in United plane diverts D.C.-to-Boston flight

A passenger says ‘the last four minutes of the flight were terrifying and I think all of us were quite unsure of how it was going the end.’

The Associated Press

NEW CASTLE, Del. — The Federal Aviation Administration says a United Airlines flight from Washington to Boston was diverted to Delaware after the pilot reported smoke in the aircraft.

The FAA says flight 3759 was carrying 61 passengers and four crew members. It was diverted to New Castle Airport near Wilmington on Wednesday morning and landed safely.

The Canadian Regional jet operated by Mesa Airlines took off from Dulles International Airport and was headed to Boston Logan International Airport when the FAA says it was diverted around 9:50 a.m.

A passenger on the plane, Sarah Barney, said in an e-mail that she first noticed something was wrong about 20 minutes into the flight when it felt as though the plane was descending sooner than it should be and her ears were popping. Soon after, the plane’s air masks came down. Barney, a frequent flyer, said the captain came on to say they would be returning to Dulles. She said she smelled a gas-like scent and people closer to the front of the plane noticed smoke. She said the ride was “extremely rocky” and passengers were asked to keep their seatbelts on and be ready for an emergency exit on landing.

“The last four minutes of the flight were terrifying and I think all of us were quite unsure of how it was going the end,” said Barney, who Tweeted a picture of passengers with masks on and photos of the plane.

The News Journal of Wilmington reports that firefighters met the jet after it landed. A spokesman for the Delaware River and Bay Authority tells the newspaper that the Delaware Air National Guard base provided buses to take the passengers and crew to the terminal.

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