Smoke was detected in the cabin of a South African Airways flight bound for Cape Town yesterday as it was preparing for takeoff, causing the aircraft to abort the attempt, SAA Airways said.
“The plane returned to base before take-off. People are saying that it had to turn around in mid-flight, but it had not yet taken off when the passengers saw the smoke,” SAA spokeswoman Dileseng Koetle said.
She added that the passengers were moved to another aircraft and had all reached Cape Town safely. The airline is investigating the cause of the smoke.
It is not the first time smoke has appeared in an SAA aircraft. Late last month Eyewitness News reported that an SAA aircraft from Johannesburg required rescue support when it landed in Cape Town after crew detected smoke in the cabin.
Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) spokesperson Deidre Hendricks told Eyewitness News that all passengers were evacuated without injury and that the aircraft landed safely.
SAA is not the only domestic airline to have suffered smoke issues; in October last year a 1Time airliner at OR Tambo International Airport was evacuated after smoke began billowing out of an engine (possibly due to foreign object ingestion) and in April 2008 a 1Time flight from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg turned back after smoke began pouring out of the an air conditioner in the cabin.
Internationally, just three days ago a United Airlines passenger jet made an emergency landing at San Francisco International Airport after smoke was detected in the passenger Cabin, AP reports.