Charlotte plane forced to turnaround because of fumes had previous issues

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Investigators are combing an American Airlines plane after Wednesday's emergency landing at Charlotte Douglas airport.

The plane headed from Charlotte to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, had to turn around mid-flight because of an odor on board, according to American Airlines officials.

Airline officials told Channel 9 that Flight 1965 was turned around Wednesday after being in the air for about 45 minutes.

The flight crew declared a medical emergency because the fumes were seeping into the cabin.

Audio from the Charlotte airport tower explains what was happening while the plane was in the air.

"That medical emergency is now landing,” the audio said. "We got all occupants off the plane. Going through the crew right now, possibly a crew member is going to be evaluated."

There were 183 passengers and 10 crew members on board, American Airlines officials said.

Two passengers were checked by medical personnel and a flight attendant was taken the hospital.

[9 Investigates: Toxic air on board passenger jets]

Channel 9 confirmed the plane remains in a hanger in Charlotte and will be out of service until it is inspected.

Channel 9 learned the same aircraft has had previous problems.

ABC News reports that these fume events happen to one out of every 35,000 flights, but most don’t cause problems.

The Federal Aviation Administration sent Channel 9 this statement: “We are concerned that if certain mechanical failures occur, the cabin environment may contain contaminants."

Channel 9 has investigated the issue of odors on planes for years and claims that it could be toxic.

Pilots said exposure to the fumes has ended careers.

Eyewitness News reporter Greg Suskin was allowed to go beyond security and talk to passengers who were on the plane.

Tyler Derringer said he could smell the odor.

"To me, it smelled like a motor burning up. The smell went away when we got to altitude. We were flying for about 20 or 30 minutes and then they said we were turning around," Derringer said.

Carmelita McCoy was one of the passengers who started to feel light-headed while on the flight and she said she wasn't sure why.

"I only noticed it when they said we were turning around and coming back. You could smell (the odor) ... (and I) had a little headache," McCoy said.

The plane is an Airbus 330, which Channel 9 has investigated before due to complaints about cabin odors.

Passengers were able to get off the plane and another flight to Punta Cana was scheduled to leave around 3:45 p.m.

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