WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Dozens of people will resume their journey to Maine Thursday after their flight was forced to make an emergency landing at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick.
A total of 151 passengers were on board Allegiant flight 736 out of Orlando Sanford International Airport. Those who spoke with Eyewitness News said the takeoff was smooth, but something smelled funny inside the plane while in the air.
“Basically, it smelled like a burning smell on the plane,” recalled passenger Rob Coyle. “And they came by like five minutes later and said there was a light that went out and then the smell went away. Then all of a sudden we started descending pretty rapidly.”
“We smelled some smoke,” added Andrew Maxsimic. “It smelled like something was burning and they announced we’d have to make a landing in Rhode Island to check the back. The bathrooms were getting hot. So we landed and were greeted by a bunch of fire trucks.”
Passenger video shows everyone safely exiting the plane by stairs onto the tarmac at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.
A spokesperson for the airline said “the aircraft was diverted after reports of an abnormal smell on the aircraft. At this time, there is no indication of a fire or smoke in the cabin.”
The plane is now being inspected to determine the cause of the incident.
The Federal Aviation Administration released a statement Thursday in regards to the incident.
Allegiance Flight 736, a McDonnell Douglas MD83 aircraft, landed safely at TF Green Airport at about 4:30 pm on Wednesday. The flight crew declared an emergency en route to Bangor International Airport in Maine due to a report of heat in the rear of the aircraft. Flight 736 took off from Orlando Sanford International Airport in Florida. The FAA will investigate.”
Some continued their trek using rental cars provided by Allegiant while others stayed in hotel rooms paid for by the airline. Those who stayed had to return T.F. Green at 9 a.m. Thursday to catch an 11 a.m. flight to Bangor.
“Unfortunately, it was a two-hour check-in at one of the hotels. They only had one person on. We didn’t check in until just after 11 o’clock,” said passenger Jim Tyler. “So here we are again this morning, and hopefully we’ll be able to get out at 11 o’clock.”
Despite the inconvenience, many of the passengers were just thankful everyone was safe.
“We all took care of each other,” said Christina Vizcarrondo. “And let’s just focus on the bright side of things. Nobody got hurt.
“The airport people were incredibly accommodating,” added Heidi Goodwin. “They tried to make us at ease. They gave us pizza. They were friendly. So I guess if we had to be anywhere, we’re glad we’re here.”
The passengers were also given $150 vouchers for a future Allegiant flight.