Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Bombardier CRJ700, Jet Stream International, Flight JIA5559: Incident occurred June 21, 2017 at Craig Field (KSEM), Selma, Dallas County, Alabama

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Birmingham, Alabama

Registration not reported. Aircraft diverted with smoke in the cockpit. Persons on board evacuated via door over wing. One (1) person sustained minor injury.

Date: 21-JUN-17
Time: 17:07:00Z
Regis#: JIA5559
Aircraft Make: BOMBARDIER
Aircraft Model: CRJ7
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: MINOR
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: NONE
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Operation: 121
Flight Number: JIA5559

Two people suffered minor injuries after an American Eagle flight made an emergency landing Wednesday morning at Craig Field.

The plane, American Airlines Flight 5559, was heading from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C. when it diverted to Craig Field.

According to a statement from American Airlines, two people were transported to a local hospital for treatment of minor injuries. The plane landed because of a strong burning smell in the cockpit and cabin, according to the airline.

The emergency landing happened at about 11:40 a.m. There were 65 passengers and four crew members on board.

Menzo Driskell, Craig Field executive director, said the airport received a call from Montgomery alerting them about the emergency landing.

“My secretary came in and said there is a plane that has an emergency, they have an unresponsive passenger and there’s smoke on the plane. We alerted our volunteer fire department, and you can see the rest is kind of history,” he said. “They got the plane down, got it shut down and got the people off.”

Driskell said two passengers suffered what appeared to be minor injuries after climbing out onto one of the wings and jumping down onto the wet runway. Three passengers were evaluated by medical personnel and two were ultimately transported to the hospital.

The passengers were safely evacuated shortly after landing and were taken from the runway to a hangar to get out of Wednesday’s steady rain.

“They were standing in the rain, but we opened up [this hangar] and got them in here. A lot of my guys pitched in with that,” Driskell said.

Selma Fire and Rescue and multiple ambulances responded to the scene. Dallas County Schools buses were used to transport passengers from the plane to a hangar.

“They were like you’d expect,” Driskell said. “They were scared and disoriented. The ones I took [to the hangar], it was like they didn’t know where they were. There was one gal actually from Alabama.”

The flight is operated by PSA Airlines, which flies under the American Eagle brand, for American Airlines and left New Orleans at 10:52 a.m. and was scheduled to arrive in D.C. at 2:27 p.m. local time. The plane is a Bombardier CRJ700 jet.

As the passengers waited in the hangar, an airlines representative told them tour buses were on their way from Montgomery to pick them up and carry them back to Montgomery Regional Airport. The airline confirmed the passengers made it safely to Montgomery Wednesday around 4:30 p.m.

“Our customer relations team will be reaching out to each of our customers to offer our apologies for what transpired,” said Ross Feinstein, spokesperson for the airline. “We’ll be offering some compensation of course as well.”

The plane is being inspected to determine what happened.

“Our maintenance team will evaluate the aircraft, and we will most likely ferry that aircraft out of there once the inspection is complete,” Feinstein said. “[The plane] will undergo an additional thorough inspection prior to being placed back in service. It’s preliminary to say when that will be, but of course the aircraft will be inspected by an aircraft maintenance team with PSA, which operated that flight.”

Driskell said there have been emergency situations at Craig Field before but nothing like Wednesday’s.

“Not on anything of a scale like this,” he said. “We’ve had a military plane break a landing gear off, but the crew was three [people] on that thing, and some things like that. We don’t get 100-passenger planes here very often.”

SELMA, AL (WSFA) - An American Eagle flight on course for Washington D.C. made an emergency landing at Craig Field in Selma Wednesday.

Passengers said they were in the air, when the oxygen masks dropped down and they were told to put them on.

“They told us it was a malfunction with the breaks and that they saw smoke outside,” passenger Shavonne Bowman said. “My heart started racing. I started praying, and I just followed the instructions.”

According to media relations from American Airlines the plane was forced to land because of a burning smell coming from the cabin and cockpit.

The flight departed from New Orleans carrying 65 passengers and four crew members. 

Two passengers were transferred to a local hospital in Selma with minor injuries, American Airlines confirmed. According to a statement from American Airlines, one of the two passengers has been released. 

The plane landed around 11:40 a.m., and according to Executive Director of Craig Field Airport & Industrial Authority Menzo Driskell, the Selma Fire/Rescue Department responded almost immediately. 

"Everything went smoothly," Driskell said. 

According to Driskell, Dallas County school buses arrived at the airport and transported the 65 passengers on the flight to the hangars, while the Red Cross provided food and drinks.

"Everyone is in good spirits," Driskell said.

Many passengers said they were impressed with how the Selma and Montgomery first responders arrived and tended to them so quickly and effectively.

The passengers were bused to Montgomery Regional Airport to continue their flight to Washington D.C. Their flight left Montgomery at around 5:30 p.m.

Authorities said two passengers of an American Eagle flight were taken to the hospital Wednesday after a plane made an emergency landing at Craig Field in Selma.

American Eagle flight 5559 was on its way from New Orleans to Washington, D.C. with 65 passengers on board when the pilot diverted due to a burning smell in the cabin and cockpit. American Airlines media relations said the plane landed safely at Craig Field at 11:40 a.m. 

Media relations said local authorities were called to ensure the passengers' safety. 

The two passengers who went to the hospital are receiving treatment for their minor injuries.

The remaining passengers were bussed to Montgomery Regional Airport to continue their flight to Washington D.C.


  1. wonder why they deployed pax masks, those dilute their oxygen with cabin air and provide NO protection from smoke...airplane checklists regarding do NOT mention deploying cabin/pax masks

  2. Because it started out as a depressurization