DENVER (CBS4) – A United Airlines plane that took off from Denver International Airport made an emergency landing at Grand Junction Regional Airport on Wednesday morning because of a medical emergency.
All 150 passengers and six crew members were evacuated from United Flight 447. The Airbus 320 landed safely at 9:30 a.m. after reports of smoke in the cockpit. Fire investigators said they found no smoke in the cockpit, and that report came in after the oxygen masks were deployed.
One medical event caused a chain reaction of passengers to feel sick and lightheaded which caused the pilot to deploy the oxygen masks.
Firefighters and ambulances met the plane on the tarmac at the Grand Junction Airport. Six passengers were treated. The Grand Junction Fire Department tweeted that one person was taken to the hospital.
The person is expected to recover.
The plane was flying from DIA to Los Angeles International Airport.
United Airlines released this statement: Due to a medical issue onboard, the flight diverted to Grand Junction and landed there safely shortly after takeoff from Denver. Medical personnel met the flight upon arrival, and we’ll fly our passengers on a new aircraft to Los Angeles.
FlightAware shows the path of the plane as it turned to land in Grand Junction.
CBS4’s Matt Kroschel traveled to Grand Junction and was able to talk to some passengers on the plane. Jason Pedruzzi told him he only had one thought — keep is daughter Victoria calm as oxygen masks started falling in front of them.
“A man had passed out, so they got the oxygen, brought the oxygen out and put it on him, and then three other people started to pass out,” Pedruzzi said.
“It was scary and I just wanted everyone to be okay,” Pedruzzi’s daughter Victoria said.
Pedruzzi pulled out his cellphone and started taking selfies with his terrified daughter, hoping to keep her mind off what was happening all around them as the aircraft made a sudden descent into Grand Junction.
“There were people crying, there were some men, adult men visibly shaken, not sure what’s going on,” he said.
About 15 people were suffering from nausea and headaches.
“Very rarely do you have an entire aircraft or a large portion of passengers fall ill with something or have an issue and nobody know why,” Pedruzzi said.
Inside the terminal pizza and drinks were brought in for the passengers and crew stuck for six hours on the Western Slope.
A new aircraft and crew later arrived and transported the passengers to their original destination of Los Angeles.