United flight diverted because of smoke in cockpit

PHOTO: Travelers check in at the United Airlines ticket counter at Terminal 1 in OHare International Airport in Chicago, Dec. 21, 2013.Nam Y. Huh/AP Photo
Travelers check in at the United Airlines ticket counter at Terminal 1 in O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Dec. 21, 2013.

A United Airlines flight from Newark, New Jersey, to Los Angeles was forced to make an emergency landing in Pennsylvania around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday after pilots noticed smoke in the cockpit, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

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Flight 1165 was diverted to Lehigh Valley International Airport, about 65 miles northeast of Philadelphia. The plane, a Boeing 757, landed safely, and no injuries were reported, the FAA said.

United confirmed the diversion in a statement late Tuesday, but said the plane had to be diverted "after reports of smoke in the lavatory," not the cockpit.

"The flight landed safely and we will transport customers back to Newark this evening via bus and provide hotel accommodations, helping customers resume their travels as quickly as possible on Wednesday," United said. "Our maintenance team will inspect the aircraft to determine the cause. We apologize to our customers for this inconvenience."

United and the FAA both said they would investigate the incident.

United passengers experienced a much scarier diversion incident earlier this month when part of a plane's engine fell apart in midair, leaving metal pieces flapping in the wind. The NTSB attributed that incident to an "engine surge and compressor stall" in one of the plane's engines.

That plane, a Boeing 777, landed safely with no injuries, but passengers on the flight said the said they were terrified.

"I thought we were going to die and hoped that my kids knew that I loved them," one passenger told ABC News on Feb. 13. "It was horrible. The flight attendants were really professional, but they were scared. You could tell from their face."

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