Rick Carroll
Aspen Correspondent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

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March 8, 2010
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SkyWest plane makes emergency landing in Aspen after smoke fills cabin

ASPEN, Colorado - A commercial flight was forced to make an emergency landing Sunday at the Aspen airport after smoke filled the pilot's cabin because of a malfunctioning air conditioner, officials said.

Sixty-five passengers, along with two flight attendants and two pilots, were aboard the United Express Flight 5940, which was en route to Denver International Airport after departing from Aspen-Pitkin County Airport. No one was injured, said Pitkin County Sheriff's Deputy Alex Burchetta.

The aircraft, operated by SkyWest Airlines, left Aspen at 12:49 p.m., said company spokeswoman Marissa Snow. It returned to the Aspen airport at 1:10 p.m., she said.

Local dispatch received a call at 12:53 p.m. indicating the aircraft, a Canadair Regional Jet 700, was having difficulties, Burchetta said.

Burchetta called the plane's return a "safe landing."

As soon as it landed, the aircraft was towed away, Burchetta said.

Jim Elwood, aviation director at the Aspen airport, said the smoke was caused by a faulty air conditioner, and was later repaired.

The same aircraft departed for Denver at approximately 4:38 p.m., said Elwood and Bill Tomcich, president of Stay Aspen Snowmass Central Reservations.

Meanwhile, Aspen Counseling officials were brought to the airport as a precautionary measure to meet with those passengers and flight crew who felt it necessary, Burchetta said.

Responding to the scene were sheriff's deputies, and rescuers and firefighters from Snowmass and Aspen.


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The Post Independent Updated Mar 8, 2010 01:44AM Published Mar 8, 2010 01:43AM Copyright 2010 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.