Plane Makes Emergency Landing at LAX

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An American Airlines jetliner bound for Hawaii had to return to L.A. International Airport for an emergency landing Tuesday morning. KPCC's Brian Watt was at LAX when it happened.

Brian Watt: Shortly after American Flight 31 to Honolulu took off, someone smelled smoke in the cabin. The pilot declared an emergency and turned the plane around for a short – and safe – round trip.

On the ground at LAX, the 188 people on board left the plane by sliding down inflatable emergency chutes. Los Angeles fire department paramedics treated six people for minor injuries from the slide.

Nancy Castles: That does happen when you do deploy the chutes.

Watt: That's Nancy Castles, spokeswoman for the agency that runs LAX. She said that when a plane must make an emergency landing there, emergency crews line up along the runway. In this case, fire trucks were already on hand to welcome a giant visitor to the airport – an Airbus A380.

Castles: So the fire trucks that were here to do a water cannon salute for the airbus A380 – the Emirates A380 that was landing – were redeployed immediately to the scene, and that is expected.

Watt: The A380 had to wait an extra 45 minutes or so to make its grand entrance. The passengers headed for Honolulu on the American Airlines flight didn't take off on another plane until after two in the afternoon – about five-and-a-half hours after their scheduled departure.