A routine American Eagle flight from Dallas to the Quad Cities Wednesday night became anything but when the cockpit filled with smoke and the pilots made an emergency landing in Greenville, Texas.
“We started spiraling,” Mike Ladehoff told News 8 upon safely arriving in the Quad Cities shortly after noon Thursday. “The cockpit filled full of smoke and we spiraled down and made a quick landing.”
The jet, which had taken off from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, had 45 passengers and three crew members on board. After the pilot and passengers smelled smoke, they brought it down in Greenville “out of an abundance of caution,” according to an American Eagle spokesperson.
“Some people began to tear up a bit, but nobody panicked,” Davenport’s Tom Jones told News 8. “Some of us held hands and prayed, and were ready for any eventuality.”
Once the plane came to a stop on Greenville’s runway, first responders helped those on board to evacuate.
“We had to jump because they don’t use slides on those small commuter planes,” Jones said.
“[The] pilot did a fantastic job,” Ladehoff added, “[and] kept us relatively calm and no one really freaked out.”
After being bused back to Dallas around 3 a.m. Thursday, American Eagle put them on a different plane for the flight to Moline. They arrived safely Thursday with quite a story to tell and a common bond between them.
“We were all taking pictures in the airport in Dallas,” Ladehoff said. “We’re all going to e-mail and stay in touch.”
“For [the pilots] David, Katie and Andre the flight attendant– thank you,” another passenger said.