Atlanta: Two Emergency Landings

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SATURDAY December 2, 2000

Another emergency landing at Hartsfield: Delta flight evacuated safely 2nd in two days: On Wednesday, AirTran jet had to abort flight due to fire. Charles Yoo and Joe Earle - Staff Saturday, December 2, 2000

A Delta airliner made an emergency landing Friday at Hartsfield International Airport following reports of smoke in an engine. It was the second emergency landing at Atlanta's airport in about 48 hours.

Delta Air Lines flight 2103 from Greensboro, N.C., landed safely at Hartsfield about 4:30 p.m. Friday. A total of 142 passengers and seven crew members quickly evacuated the plane, Delta officials reported.

One passenger was taken to a local hospital after she twisted her ankle while using an escape chute, a Delta spokeswoman said, and another passenger complained of elevated blood pressure. An Atlanta firefighter sprained his back and neck and was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, a fire department spokesman said.

Delta said the pilot of the Boeing 727 reported smoke in one of the plane's three engines and asked that emergency crews meet the plane at Hartsfield. Delta said no fire was found.

On Wednesday, an AirTran DC-9 made an emergency landing at Hartsfield about 3:51 p.m., minutes after takeoff. Firefighters extinguished a fire in the airliner's forward baggage compartment. There were no injuries.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating both incidents.

At a press conference Friday, the NTSB's lead investigator in the AirTran incident said the fire was in an area of the plane with a concentration of electrical wires.

Investigator Frank Hilldrup refused to discuss a dispute between his boss and the airline. AirTran officials Friday angrily denied accusations by acting NTSB Chairman Jim Hall that AirTran employees had hindered the investigation by cleaning the plane after the fire.

Meanwhile, passengers evacuated from the Delta flight reported that about 20 minutes before landing they heard a loud noise, smelled a musty odor and saw a stewardess run toward the front of the plane.

Bob Hufner, 51, of Denver said, "I've never seen stewardesses run like that. That got everyone worried."

Passengers said they were told that the noise was from the air conditioner and that the pilot had turned it off. It grew warmer inside the compartment, they said, as people started getting nervous.

The pilot told the passengers to prepare for an emergency landing. Within 15 minutes, the plane descended on a taxiway, Delta officials said.

"I really thought we were going to crash," said passenger Kelly McCallum, 16.

As passengers slid down the inflatable ramps, they saw smoke. Firefighters were hosing down the engine.

"I didn't start getting upset until I saw the smoke coming out the back of the plane once we were on the ground," said Paul McCallum, Kelly's 15-year-old brother. "It was horrible."

--- Staff writer Andrea Jones contributed to this report.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating two emergency landings at Hartsfield International Airport this week. When an AirTran airliner returned to the airfield Wednesday moments after takeoff, firefighters extinguished a blaze in a luggage hold. On Friday, a Delta Air Lines flight from North Carolina reported smoke in an engine. WEDNESDAY Flight: AirTran 956 Model: DC-9 Route: Atlanta to Ohio's Akron-Canton Regional Airport Departed: 3:45 p.m. Returned: 3:51 p.m. Problem: Fire in the forward cargo hold and an area between the cargo hold and the fuselage Passengers: 92 Crew: 5 Injuries: 0 Diagram of the AirTran DC-9 pinpoints the locations of the following: Passenger forward entrance door Electrical/electronics compartment Cargo hold: site of fire Emergency exits Fight data recorder FRIDAY Flight: Delta 2103 Model: Boeing 727 Route: Greensboro, N.C., to Atlanta Departed: 3:12 p.m. Arrived: 4:30 p.m. Problem: Smoke in engine Passengers: 142 Crew: 7 Injuries: 1 passenger, 1 firefighter Digram of the Delta Boegin 727 pinpoints the location of: Engine three: site of problem Sources: FAA, boeing.com, aero-web.org, staff research / CHUCK BLEVINS / Staff

-- Rachel Gibson (rgibson@hotmail.com), December 02, 2000


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