American Eagle passengers safe after flight aborted
SAVOY — An American Eagle flight bound for Dallas from the University of Illinois Willard Airport aborted its takeoff Thursday morning because of smoke in the cockpit.
According to Ted Gonsiorowski, assistant airport manager, all 39 passengers aboard Flight 3009 left the plane safely about 8:30 a.m. and were taken back to the Willard terminal to rebook their flights.
The crew of the Embraer ERJ-145 aircraft reported smelling smoke and halted the takeoff about a third of the way down the runway, at 8:21 a.m., Gonsiorowski said. Fire and rescue trucks were called.
Gonsiorowski said the situation could have been worse.
One passenger told WDWS-AM that he did not see or smell any smoke in the plane.
The plane stopped on a nearby taxiway, where crew members helped passengers off. The plane is not equipped with emergency slides. When firefighters arrived, they used their ladders to help.
A Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District bus took the passengers back to the terminal where American helped them make other travel arrangements.
Mike Kobel, crash rescue coordinator for the airport fire department, said firefighters used a thermal imaging camera to check out the plane but could find nothing wrong.
The plane was taken to Flightstar's maintenance hangar where it was further inspected. It left the airport later in the morning, Kobel said.