Friday, December 28, 2012

Allegiant McDonnell Douglas MD-82, Flight 959, Cargo Fire Indication: Fort Wayne International Airport (KFWA), Indiana

Emergency crews respond to Allegiant plane at Fort Wayne International Airport


 Photo Credit: Erin Shuttleworth 
 Emergency crews responding to an Allegiant plane at the Fort Wayne International Airport.

Photo Credit:  Erin Shuttleworth
 Emergency crews responding to an Allegiant plane at the Fort Wayne International Airport.

An Allegiant aircraft on its way from South Bend to Florida landed at Fort Wayne International Airport after an indicator light showed there was a fire in its cargo hold. 

But Scott Hinderman, executive director of airports for the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority, said it landed safely early Friday afternoon. Allegiant flight 959 landed in Fort Wayne at about 1:24 p.m., the airline said in a statement. As of 2:15 p.m., its passengers were in the terminal building.

“There were no real injuries and nothing to worry about,” Hinderman said. "The evacuation of the aircraft to get people in a safe environment was very quick."

Hinderman said a few people were treated for minor bumps and bruises after sliding down emergency slides.

He said the plane was still on the taxiway shortly after it landed at around 1:30 p.m. The plane had been headed for Punta Gorda, Fla., he said. He did not know Friday afternoon what Allegiant would do with the aircraft.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, Allegiant said flight 959 was carrying 149 passengers and five crew members. The aircraft, a McDonnell Douglas MD-80 jet, has a capacity of about 150 passengers, Hinderman said.

After passengers evacuated the plane by sliding down the inflatable chutes, they were at first taken to the Atlantic Aviation support building just west of the airport terminal. They were later moved to the terminal, where many waited in the coffee shop or lobby area for a replacement aircraft to be sent.

One passenger, Jim Baier, of Fort Myers, Fla., said the experience was "probably harrowing for some people," but he didn't believe there was an actual fire.

"I really didn't think there was fire because the fire trucks weren't trying that hard to get there fast, so they seemed confident there was no fire," Baier said, adding that he never smelled smoke.

Baier said passengers learned that there would be an emergency landing about 45 minutes into the flight.

Hinderman said investigators were still trying to determine Friday afternoon if a fire had actually started. But the plane was not visibly burning, and firefighters did not spray any water at the aircraft, he said.


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - According to an Allegiant official an indicator light for the cargo hold prompted an emergency landing for Allegiant flight 959, out of South Bend bound for Punta Gorda, Florida.

 Emergency crews responded to the emergency landing at the Fort Wayne International Airport Friday around 1:25 p.m. Jessica Wheeler, spokesperson for Allegiant, said the plane made an emergency in response to an indicator light for the cargo hold.

An Allegiant official says there were 149 passengers and five crew members on on the flight. They were all quickly and safely evacuated out of inflatable door slides.

As of about 2:45 p.m. on Friday, Allegiant was interviewing passengers and working on getting food to the evacuated group.

Allegiant said no serious injuries had been reported and a Sheriff's Deputy said there were no injuries.

Allegiant is also working on securing a new plane to get passengers on their way to Punta Gorda, Florida.

Allegiant Travel Company issued this statement around 3:45 p.m. Friday:

The company's first priority is to meet the needs of those who have been directly affected by this event. Allegiant's Care Support Team, a team of specially trained employee volunteers, will be available to assist passengers.

Allegiant said passengers and families of flight 959 in need of assistance or additional information may contact Allegiant at 1-888-393-3535.