Passenger films plane evacuation at Oakland Airport

Dramatic moments were captured on cellphone video as smoke forced passengers to quickly evacuate a plane in Oakland.
February 27, 2014 12:11:56 PM PST
There are new details on the plane that experienced smoke in the cabin after it landed at Oakland International Airport Wednesday night. SkyWest Airlines says it was not an emergency, in spite of a recording that shows a lot of urgency.

The SkyWest spokesperson tells me this was not an emergency evacuation. Rather, she describes it as an expedited deplaning.

SkyWest was operating the Delta connection from LAX to Oakland. A passenger recorded the incident on his phone. He captured some fairly dramatic moments.

First there was a fairly calm request from a flight attendant.

"Please leave all your personal belongings behind," she said.

Then, the message got a little more urgent.

"We cannot breath back here, go," another flight attendant announced.

Linton Johnson, a former spokesperson for BART, recorded the incident on his cellphone and describes for us what it was like after they landed.

"I was up at the front," he said. "As soon as we landed, I started smelling some sort of scent that was odd to me, smelled like burning rubber. And then by the time we started getting close to the gate, the pilots slammed on the breaks and the flight attendants were running and then they started saying 'get off the plane, get off the plane, leave your belongings behind, get off the plane, get off the plane.'"

SkyWest is downplaying what happened. A spokesperson issued a statement this morning. It reads, "SkyWest Flight 4454 arrived on time, landed and taxied to the gate normally. At the gate, the smell of smoke was reported and all 75 passengers deplaned through the main cabin door.

Between the passengers and four crew members, no one was hurt.

SkyWest says it was an air conditioning pack that caused the problem.

Once safely out of harm's way, Johnson says it could have been worse.

"Can you imagine if this had happened at 30,000 feet?" Johnson asked. "The ironic part was I was reading a book about airplane disasters, so it's kind of nice that mine didn't turn out to be the disaster that I was reading about."

SkyWest says crews have inspected the aircraft and it has been cleared to resume flying.


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