JetBlue Flight Forced Into Emergency Landing in Las Vegas

Mechanical gliltch on New York-bound flight led to an emergency landing.

ByABC News
June 20, 2012, 5:34 AM

June 20, 2012— -- The Federal Aviation Administration has launched an investigation after a mechanical problem on a JetBlue flight from Las Vegas to New York this weekend led to an emergency landing, grounding 135 rattled passengers.

JetBlue confirmed to ABC News that the captain of Flight 194 declared an emergency landing on Sunday because of a "mechanical indication" in the cockpit. Officials at Las Vegas' McCarran Airport said the aircraft had hydraulic problems in the air and had to return to the airport.

"I've never had that kind of hydroplaning feel," passenger Tom Mizer told ABC News. "Everybody on the plane started to get really nervous. People were starting to throw up. I don't think I've ever had that kind of sustained tension and fear in my life."

One passenger told the newspaper that throughout the flight the plane continuously lurched from side to side and went into step turns. Another passenger said that people became sick onboard and began to vomit from the motions of the plane.

A flight attendant reportedly walked down the aisle during the aborted flight, telling passengers to look at her smile to see that she was not scared.

"You could hear a screeching -- an obvious mechanical screeching … we were bouncing around a lot," one Brooklyn passenger said, adding that something must have been wrong from the start.

Once it had landed, the aircraft had to be towed to the gate because the front wheels of the plane had become inoperable, according to officials at McCarran Airport.

Conservative columnist S.E. Cupp was aboard the flight, and tweeted about the experience once she landed.

"Well, after flying for five hours, I've just landed in Vegas. Where I started. Emergency landing after losing hydraulics. The plane turned into a vomitorium. For five hours. And, after all that, I'm still in Vegas," she wrote. "If I didn't have to get home, I would never fly again."

On Sunday, June 17, shortly after takeoff, the captain of Flight 194 from Las Vegas to New York's JFK declared an emergency due to the loss of yellow hydraulics. The flight returned to McCarran Airport, where it landed safely at 7:37 p.m. local," JetBlue said in a statement. "A replacement aircraft accommodated customers for a 10:13 p.m. local departure, arriving at JFK at 5:59 a.m. ET.

"JetBlue takes all incidences seriously, and the safety of our customers and crewmembers is our No. 1 priority. The actions the crew took in response to this event truly represent who we are and our core value -- safety," the statement read.

The flight was later scheduled to leave McCarran at 9:40 p.m., and land in New York at 5:33 a.m. local time.