DENVER – Passengers on an American Airlines flight from Charlotte, North Carolina, were forced to slide off the plane on emergency chutes soon after landing in Denver on Wednesday.
The plane, operated by U.S. Airways, was taxiing to the gate at Denver International Airport when smoke was reported in the aircraft just before noon, airport spokeswoman Mindy Crane said. The captain ordered that the chutes be activated, and 158 passengers and six crew members slid down to safety from Flight 445 before being taken by bus to the concourse, said Crane and American Airlines spokeswoman Andrea Huguely.
One minor injury was reported, but it wasn't immediately clear how that person was injured.
There was no sign of a fire inside the plane, and exactly what happened remains under investigation, Crane said.
American Airlines has been in contact with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration, Huguely said.
Passengers said the evacuation was calm.
While the plane was taxiing, passenger Andy Long said he noticed a smell like that from an emergency brake left on in a running car and then saw the cabin fill with a light haze. "That's when they said 'Everybody get out, get out, get out. Don't take your stuff,' " he said.
Lindsay Geisler said passengers had to wait about 20 minutes before the buses arrived to carry them to the terminal, and they did not start getting their baggage until over two hours after the evacuation. Still she remained upbeat.
"It's been great to see how people rally together and help out one another when you get put into a situation like this," she said.
Long praised the crew's handling of the situation.
"There was probably an appropriate amount of people being generally frustrated because their days got rained on," Long said.
He took it in stride. On Instagram, he said he can now take using an emergency plane exit off his bucket list.