Plane diverted to McGhee Tyson Airport
By Wes Wade | (email@example.com)
A plane headed from Columbia, S.C., to Chicago, Ill., was temporarily diverted to McGhee Tyson Airport Tuesday evening after it was indicated there was smoke in the flight deck.
A statement from ExpressJet Airlines said ExpressJet Flight 4293, operating as United Express from Columbia, S.C., to Chicago, was diverted as a precautionary measure after the crew declared and emergency.
The flight landed safely and without incident. All 28 passengers aboard the flight were put on another flight, the statement said.
The alert came out at about 6:30 p.m. and within only a matter of minutes the alert was downgraded to nonemergency. All area fire departments were on alert and in standby mode in case needed.
Blount County Fire Capt. Tim Ogle said all area fire departments are paged any time a plane is having problems.
“They call out an alert to all area departments,” Ogle said. “They called us back and said the plane was on the ground safely.”
Ogle said a 9,000-gallon tanker and five firefighters were waiting on standby. Ogle said since a plane in distress may go down anywhere, they don’t leave the station until needed.
Alcoa Fire Lt. Bill Smock said engines at all three Alcoa Fire station locations also remain on standby in situations like the one Tuesday evening.
“We all just kind of scramble and prepare for the worst,” Smock said. “Basically we get dressed and ready to act if needed. We’re ready to go because there’s always that chance that (the airplane) might not make the runway and it may crash in Alcoa. But even if it crashed at the airport they would probably request us to come in. And we drill with them every so often.”