AA flight makes emergency landing in West Palm Beach

An American Airlines flight en route to Philadelphia from San Juan was diverted to West Palm Beach Airport yesterday after the cockpit filled with smoke.

According to American spokesman Tim Wagner, six people -- the pilot and co-pilot; three flight attendants; and one passenger -- were taken to area hospitals for evaluation; all were treated and released.

Wagner said the flight left Wednesday on time from San Juan at 6:40 p.m. and about two hours into the flight, the pilots detected "a haze in the cockpit and decided to divert to a local airport to check out the issue."

Shortly after making the decision to divert the flight an inside pane of the cockpit window shattered; the outside pane did not shatter.

"The cause of the haze and the window shattering was a faulty window heater, [which is] designed to prevent the window from icing over," said Wagner.

Flight 1738 departs St. Maarten each afternoon en route to San Juan, continuing on to Philadelphia via Boeing 757 aircraft. The plane carried 139 passengers and seven crew on Jan. 30; all passengers were able to make it back to Philadelphia via a special flight that American operated, Wagner said.

The special flight departed at around 2 a.m. from West Palm Beach and landed in Philadelphia by 4:45 a.m. today.

The window will be replaced and the aircraft put back in service, according to Wagner.


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