7 Hospitalized after ‘Smoke in the Cabin’ of Hawaiian Airlines Flight Forces Emergency Landing
“We have since determined that a seal failed in the aircraft’s left engine, causing oil to leak onto hot parts of the plane’s engine and air conditioning pressurization system," a spokesperson for Hawaiian Airlines tells PEOPLE
A plane traveling from Oakland to Hawaii made an emergency landing on Thursday after experiencing an engine problem that caused smoke to fill up the plane.
A spokesperson for Hawaiian Airlines tells PEOPLE that the flight, which was carrying 184 passengers and seven crew members, landed in Honolulu at 11:36 a.m. local time, “about 20 minutes after an in-flight emergency was declared due to reports of smoke in the cargo hold and cabin.”
“We have since determined that a seal failed in the aircraft’s left engine, causing oil to leak onto hot parts of the plane’s engine and air conditioning pressurization system, resulting in smoke in the cabin,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “The performance of the engine was not affected, and the Airbus A321neo flight landed without incident on runway 4R. First responders met the aircraft upon arrival, and emergency slides were deployed to assist in an evacuation.”
A total of seven passengers “were transported to local hospitals due to smoke-related symptoms,” the spokesperson confirms.
American Medical Response spokesman James Ireland says those hospitalized include five adults and two children, one of whom is 9 months old, the Associated Press reports. All of their injuries are considered minor.
Opening up about the incident, passenger Lucky Cara told Hawaii News Now that when the cabin began filling up with smoke, “there were a few people that were crying.”
“I was scared. It just kept getting worse and worse,” she said, adding that several passengers got “a few little bumps and bruises” from sliding down the emergency slides.
Passengers also told the outlet that flight attendants passed out wet cloths in order to help them breathe.
Documenting the “scary” experience online, one social media user shared a slideshow of images, which included one of the smoke-filled plane.
A spokesperson for Hawaiian Airlines tells PEOPLE that they will be “conducting a thorough inspection of the aircraft before returning it to service.”
“We sincerely apologize to our passengers for this incident, and thank them, as well as first responders and airport officials, for their cooperation and assistance in a swift and safe evacuation,” the spokesperson adds.
In a press conference, Hawaiian Airlines chief operations officer Jon Snook said that all passengers would be getting a full refund of their round-trip tickets as well as vouchers to use for future travel.