New Southwest Mechanical Problem Turns Back Oakland Flight

OAKLAND (CBS SF) – All 103 passengers aboard a Southwest Airlines flight that was grounded at Oakland International Airport Tuesday morning arrived in Denver on a replacement plane Tuesday afternoon, a company spokesman said.

Passengers departed between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. from Oakland and arrived at Denver International Airport at about noon, within two and a half hours of the original arrival time, spokesman Chris Mainz said.

Flight No. 565, which departed from Oakland, had to turn around and land in Oakland around 7:30 a.m. because of a flap problem, Mainz said. Shortly after take-off, the plane’s flap indicator light came on, he said.

Mainz said the illumination of the light was similar to a car’s check engine light turning on while driving.

“The plane just needed a sensor replaced,” Mainz said.

Passengers, he said, were very understanding about the two and a half hour delay.

Because the incident was minor, the plane did not make an emergency landing, and a yellow alert was issued, Oakland International Airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes said.

The yellow alert means fire trucks wait on the runway for the aircraft to land, she said, and the fire trucks follow behind the plane as it lands in order to verify the safety of the landing.

After a secure landing, normal airport operations resumed, she said.

“I hope Southwest is able to get back on track. I hope they can get airplanes back in service and get customers to their destinations on time,” Barnes said.

The incident comes after two other Southwest incidents in the last few days. A Southwest flight from Oakland to San Diego was diverted to Los Angeles Sunday because of a burning electrical smell in the cabin. On Friday, a hole opened up in the fuselage of a Phoenix-to-Sacramento flight, prompting an emergency landing in Yuma, Arizona.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)


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