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

An American Airlines flight carrying the Pitt Panthers cheerleaders was forced to land after a odor filled the cabin. (Photo courtesy Ken Strauss)
Caption
An American Airlines flight carrying the Pitt Panthers cheerleaders was forced to land after a odor filled the cabin. (Photo courtesy Ken Strauss)

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.

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

Passengers on board told WSOCTV.com 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 WSOCTV.com 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.

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