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United flight from Honolulu to Guam diverted because of mechanical issue

A United Airlines flight from Honolulu to Guam was diverted to the remote island of Midway because of a mechanical issue.

The airline said Friday it flew the 335 passengers and 13 crew members from Flight 201 back to Honolulu. It put Guam-bound passengers on another flight to the U.S. territory.

The Boeing 777 was heading to Guam on Thursday when it was diverted. United says replacement aircraft brought passengers back to Honolulu Friday morning.

A passenger told KITV that the plane was delayed in Honolulu for several hours because of a burning smell. Teresita Smith told the news station that while in the air, the burning smell got stronger and some passengers heard alarms in the back of the plane. 

"It was terribly frightening. There was no doubt, 100 percent emotion, of the feeling that the plane was going to go down," Smith told KITV. 

The Navy used the atoll 1,300 miles northwest of Honolulu as a base during the Cold War but left in 1996.

It's now a national wildlife refuge home to more than 1 million seabirds, green sea turtles and endangered Hawaiian monk seals.

The island's residents manage the airstrip and wildlife refuge.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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