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United flight diverted to remote Midway Island due to odor

PTI | Last Updated: Sunday, July 13, 2014 - 23:03

Washington: A United Airlines flight with 348 people aboard over the Pacific Ocean was forced to land on remote Midway Island because of what authorities said was an electrical odor on board.

The United Airlines plane, carrying 335 passengers and 13 crew on a Boeing 777, was flying from Honolulu to Guam on Friday when it was forced to land and spend seven hours on the Pacific atoll, said United spokeswoman Mary Clark.
A replacement aircraft later carried everyone back to Hawaii on Friday, she said.

When asked whether the disturbing smell was smoke or something burning, Clark described the incident as an odor in the cabin.

A passenger, Karen von Merveldt-Guevara of Sedona, Arizona, said the pilot spoke of smoke and failure to the radar and other systems.

"The captain said there was smoke in the cockpit and the radar failed and other electronic systems were failing, so they had to land. I think they landed old-school. They did an amazing job to get there safely," Merveldt-Guevara was quoted as saying by CNN.
"At one point there was one drop of about 40 feet. After that turbulence, it got really silent. I thought everybody was praying, and we were coming in on the wings of faith. We were all praying," Merveldt-Guevara told CNN.

She said an odor emanated even before the plane took off. But the jet took flight any way before being diverted to Midway Island, a US territory known as home to a World War II battle.

United is now investigating the plane, a Boeing 777.

United could not comment on further details, such as the purported radar failure, because its investigation is ongoing, Clark said.

FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer described the odor aboard the plane as an "electrical smell" in the cabin or cockpit.

First Published: Sunday, July 13, 2014 - 23:03

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