Panic erupted on a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles when it had to make an emergency landing at a US military airpot in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands on Wednesday due to smoke detected on the plane.
All 276 passengers and 18 crew members onboard flight CX884 were unharmed, although the incident left some passengers shaken.
“Everyone was in a panic, like, ‘oh my God, this is really happening.’ People were putting life jackets on, the cabin crew were showing us the brace position and helping us practice,” Genevieve Cousineau, a US passenger based in Beijing, wrote on her Facebook page.
Cathay Pacific said in a post on Twitter that a problem with an equipment cooling fan below the cabin floor had failed, causing smoke to fill the area around the cockpit. The pilot told everyone on board to prepare for a water landing.
“My heart was beating; I didn’t know what to expect,” a businessman named Bruce Kirch said in an SCMP report. “It was quite unnerving but what can you do except hope for the best?”
The crew assured passengers about five minutes before the plane touched down that they had reached a landing strip.
Upon landing, the aircraft was inspected and deemed safe to fly. Passengers were then taken to Anchorage, where another plane from Hong Kong picked them up and took them to Los Angeles, Reuters reports.
By Maggie Wong