Plane carrying Pitt cheerleaders forced to make emergency landing after odor fills cabin

An American Airlines flight carrying University of Pittsburgh cheerleaders was forced to make an emergency landing Friday in North Carolina because of an odor in the cabin.

>> Read more trending news

The connecting flight from Charlotte was heading to Greensboro when there was a strong smell of smoke.

Passengers on board told that they thought the plane caught on fire.

Ken Strauss, an employee in Pitt's athletic department who also was a passenger on the flight, said he thought the smell was burned coffee until the pilot said the plane needed to make the emergency landing.

The pilot returned the plane to Charlotte, where firetrucks were waiting on the tarmac, Strauss told Channel 11's Aaron Martin.

American Airlines officials told no fire was reported on flight 5118 from Charlotte to Greensboro. According to officials, the flight landed safely in Charlotte at 8:32 a.m. and all passengers boarded another plane scheduled to land in Greensboro just before noon.

Strauss said the cheerleaders are OK.

The Pitt Panthers football team has a game Saturday against Wake Forest in North Carolina.

About the Author