American Airlines flight out of Charlotte forced to turn back after odor fills cabin

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Officials said an American Airlines flight taking off from Charlotte Douglas International Airport with 59 passengers had to turn around after an "odor in the cabin."

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Passengers on board told Channel 9 that they thought the plane caught on fire as it took off Friday morning.

American Airlines officials said Flight 5118 from Charlotte to Greensboro returned to the airport shortly after take-off when an odor filled the cabin. No fire was reported.

“Finally, when we got into the air, about 8:30, the airplane just started smelling of smoke. I didn't really think it was anything major at first,” passenger Ken Burch said.

According to officials, the flight landed safely in Charlotte at 8:32 a.m. and all passengers boarded another plane scheduled to land in Greensboro just before noon.

While in the air, passengers took to social media to say they thought the plane had caught fire.

“Right as we're about to land, they make an announcement: 'Hey everyone, this is an emergency. We're heading back to Charlotte. There’s been a little smoke issue on the plane,’” Burch said.

Passengers on the plane, including cheerleaders from the University of Pittsburgh, got off the plane safely. Only one person was treated by medical personnel and then released.

American Airlines sent Channel 9 a statement, saying, “The flight operated by PSA Airlines made that emergency landing due to an odor in the cabin.”

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