Plane evacuated at Willard in Savoy

Published 08/29 2013 08:52AM

Updated 08/30 2013 10:39AM

Latest: 6:30 pm
SAVOY -- A flight from Savoy to Dallas was not smooth sailing. Emergency crews rushed to Willard Airport Thursday morning because of smoke in the plane's cockpit. Everyone is okay, but as WCIA-3's Cynthia Bruno tells us, it forced people to change travel plans and interrupted a very important family reunion.

Kirsten and Matt Snyder spent their morning waiting in line trying to figure out how they were going to get to their son.

"We were flying down to Ft. Hood, Texas. My son's stationed there in the Army and we were flying down to see him for the weekend. We were taking him to the beach down in Galveston."

They haven't seen him in months. He was sent to Ft. Hood in May.

"I didn't want to wait until Christmas to see him, so we just booked a quick weekend trip and I hope I get there."

But, that trip came to a sudden stop for the 39 passengers on American Eagle Flight 3009.

"It started at 8:21. When we received notification from the FAA tower that the American Airline departing for Dallas reported smoke in the cockpit. Everybody stayed calm. The flight attendant told us what was going on. Told us we were going to get off the plane and the gentleman in front of me said it perfectly, better here than once we were up in the air."

The fire department evacuated the plane and an MTD bus took everyone to the airport's main terminal.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I can't apologize enough. In the meantime, here's some refreshments, water, granola and hot coffee. We'll do whatever we need to get you there safely. We're here to help you."

People passed around the snacks and poured cups of coffee trying to make the best of it. The Snyder's, who didn't have a good start to their vacation, are just looking forward to a good ending.

"It's definitely time, absolutely. Very excited to get down there to see him."

People working at Willard helped everyone work out their travel plans. For most people, including the Snyder's, people arranged rides to Chicago. This vehicle from Star Limousine and this bus took them to the airport there.

Willard Airport says things like this don't happen often. Emergency maintenance crews at Flight Star started work immediately after the plane was evacuated.

They towed it to a hangar. Now mechanics are trying to determine what caused the smoke in the first place.
Latest: 3:47 pm
SAVOY -- It was a scary morning for people flying from Central Illinois to Dallas, TX, Thursday morning. People had to evacuate American Eagle Flight 3009 because of smoke in the cockpit.

It happened about 8:20 am. People on board say they felt the plane speed up to take off, then immediately slow down. That's when they smelled smoke.

Rescue crews and an MTD bus met the plane to help passengers off and take them to the main terminal. Once people got back inside the airport, they had to wait in line to make different travel plans.

39 people were on the flight. No one was hurt.
Update: 11:42 am
SAVOY -- Emergency crews evacuated a plane taking off from Willard Airport Thursday morning. Now passengers are taking a different way to their final destination.

A call of smoke in the cockpit on an American Eagle flight to Dallas came in about 8:20 am. It happened just before the plane took off.

Crews helped people get off the plane, then an MTD bus took them back to the airport's main terminal. There, they had to wait in line to find out how to rearrange their travel plans.

This group of women were on their way to Anaheim to run a half-marathon. They tried to keep their spirits up while waiting for more information.

The airport helped most people take a bus to Chicago to catch different flights. There were 38 people on-board the plane. No one was hurt.
Original: 8:52 am
SAVOY -- A plane has been evacuated at Willard Airport due to smoke in the cockpit. Airport officials say 39 passengers were onboard the plane. It was an American Eagle flight preparing for take-off to Dallas.

No injuries have been reported. Fire crews are now on scene.

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