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Smoke reported in airplane flying from Dulles to Boston

Plane lands safely in Delaware

Passengers on the tarmac.

Walter Alcorn

Passengers on the tarmac.

A flight from Washington to Boston landed safely in Delaware this morning after being diverted when smoke was reported in the aircraft, federal aviation officials said.

United Express 3759, operated by Mesa Air Group, took off from Dulles International Airport and was headed to Logan International Airport. It diverted at about 9:50 a.m. to the New Castle Airport in Wilmington, Del., the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.

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The plane “landed safely in Delaware and we are working to get our customers to their final destinations as quickly as possible. The flight crew diverted the plane after a report of smoke in the cabin,” United Airlines said in a statement.

Walter Alcorn, 47, of Reston, Va. was flying to Boston for the day on a business trip before the surprise landing.

“We were cruising along at about 31,000 feet, and suddenly the plane started to descend very quickly and the oxygen masks came down,” Alcorn said in a telephone interview. “I could smell a little bit of smoke in the cabin, and the captain said that we were heading back to Dulles.”

After a few minutes flying at around 10,000 feet, the plane changed course again and began descending rapidly to land at New Castle Airport, Alcorn said.

“They didn’t give us very much information, but the pilot mentioned something about a problem with air intake and also with the cabin pressure,” he said. “Some people were distressed, but I think different people on the plane had different reactions.”

The pilot told passengers to expect another plane to arrive at 2:30 p.m. that would take them to Boston, but Alcorn and three others chose to rent a car and drive the rest of the way.

The plane, an Embraer 170, was carrying 58 passengers and four crew members, the airline said.

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