A Chicago-bound American Airlines flight was forced to divert to Jacksonville after a spilled soda caused safety concerns.
An American Airlines flight from Miami International Airport (MIA) to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) was forced to make an unscheduled stop at Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) after a spilled beverage created a potential fire hazard. First responders were waiting when the flight touched down – after firefighters were alerted to serious concerns over a possible cockpit fire.
The flight landed without incident Wednesday evening, but the 155 on board were delayed for about five hours while a replacement plane was dispatched to continue the aborted trip to ORD.
According to airline officials, the emergency landing occurred after a passenger spilled an inflight beverage, splashing liquid in a power outlet in the cabin in the process. “Out of abundance of caution, the crew made the decision to divert to JAX,” American spokesman Ross Feinstein told Jacksonville television station WJXT.
While the airline downplayed the seriousness of the situation, a cameraman for News4JAX who was at the airport filming an unrelated story about weather-related flight delays reported that flames were visible as the American Airlines flight landed.
Meanwhile, flyer Preston Wake also disputes the airline’s account of the troubling incident, which placed the blame on a passenger. The eyewitness said a flight attendant fumbled and then spilled the soda that eventually caused so much trouble.
“I can’t really tell you how far it went, but I was soaked,” Wake told The Florida Times Union. “I had to change my clothes and everything.”