By WSOCTV.com News Staff
CHARLOTTE — A ground stop was triggered Tuesday morning at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, according to the FAA.
It happened around 10 a.m. According to an FAA advisory, the emergency ground stop was issued after a plane’s air conditioning leaked fuel. The plane made an emergency landing and the flight was canceled as a result.
CLT confirmed the plane landed safely.
The airport was temporarily reduced to one runway, the FAA said.
Charlotte Douglas saw delays averaging two hours, according to FlightAware. There were about 46 delays as of 10:45 a.m.
‘Like a fire hydrant’
A Charlotte passenger was onboard the plane for a two-week trip to Thailand and had a window seat overlooking a wing.
Lonnie Lane said he noticed something was wrong after takeoff.
“I’m sitting on the wing seat of the airplane and just looked out right to my right and this thing is gushing gas out of the wing like a fire hydrant,” Lane said.
Viewer video from the ground given to Channel 9 shows fuel spewing from the side of the plane.
“I’m no expert on this but I was like, somethings not right here,” Lane said.
Other passengers on the flight were a little more concerned.
“I was trying to get some sleep and I heard the guy say, ‘We had to turn back to Charlotte,’ and I was so scared,” passenger Lanie Nguyen said.
“She was about the cry and the other girl was going to comfort her saying, ‘It’s OK. This is not normal but we are going to be OK,’” passenger Joan Webster said.
Passengers said the pilot was very calm and explained they had to go back to Charlotte to check on things.
The plane landed safely and the airport eventually returned to normal operations.
Delta provided this statement on its website: “Due to a mechanical issue with the aircraft, we have canceled this flight. We’re sorry for the inconvenience. Customers who are impacted may visit My Trips to view no-cost rebooking options.”
CLT provided Channel 9 with the following statement about the incident:
“We apologize to our customers on Delta flight 2481 from Charlotte to Detroit that returned to Charlotte shortly after departure following a reported aircraft fuel system issue. The aircraft landed and taxied to the gate under its own power, where it will undergo inspection.
“Customers are being re-accommodated on alternate flights out of Charlotte to most quickly get everyone to their respective destinations. Safety, as always, remains Delta’s top priority.”