Posted: Jul 26, 2010 5:39 AM by Amanda Venegas - Q2 News
Updated: Jul 26, 2010 7:21 PM
BILLINGS - About 150 people are safe Sunday night after boarding an Allegiant Air flight from Billings and making an emergency landing in Arizona.
Allegiant Air flight 645 was headed to Mesa, AZ when the crews noticed something unusual. Allegiant Air officials say the flight en route to Mesa when a warning light went on, indicating there was a possible fire in one of its two engines.
Officials say the flight was carrying 144 passengers and six crew members to Mesa, which is located just outside of Phoenix.
A spokesman with the Federal Aviation Administration says it's not clear whether there was an actual fire.
The plane diverted to Flagstaff and landed safety at about 10:30 a.m. Passengers exited the plane using emergency slides. Flagstaff police say three people suffered minor injuries while exiting the plane and were transported to a local hospital.
"MD80 aircraft that's the type that we fly are built to fly very safely and land very safely on one engine. However, it is not ideal. So we immediately landed at the closest airport. It is very rare, but we work really hard to be prepared for those rare circumstances and all that preparedness paid off we were able to land safely and without incident," said Tyri Squyres, Allegiant Air spokesperson.
Battalion Chief Pat Staskey says he saw smoke, but it there was no fire coming from the engine when his crews arrived. At last report, the runway on Flagstaff was closed as crews worked to remove the plane.
Allegiant Air passengers were taken by bus to their final destination and the incident remains under investigation.