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Crews Called to Airport For Aircraft Emergency

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PITTSTON TOWNSHIP -- Emergency crews were called out Friday morning for reports of an aircraft emergency.

A plane carrying 12 passengers had to make an emergency landing at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport at about 9:30 a.m. Friday.

A US Airways flight flying from Philadelphia to Albany had to land here after there was smoke in the cockpit, according to airport officials.

The pilot called the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton airport when they were about 30 miles away, near the Allentown area.

It's still unclear what caused the smoke but officials say there were no flames or fire.

None of the 15 people on board was hurt.

As for today's successful emergency landing, officials chalk it up to good training and preparation.

Airport officials say the pilot called when the crew noticed smoke in the cockpit.

"It is a commercial carrier, with that many people on board, better to be safe than sorry,” said airport director Barry Centini.

Part of being safe included calling several emergency crews from Luzerne and Lacakwanna Counties.

The plane landed safely and officials say no one was injured.

The passengers eventually made it to Albany in vans provided by US Airways.

The Pittston Township Volunteer Fire Department was one of the first crews to respond.

"A couple ambulances were sent down - it was raining at the time - just to get people some shelter and then a crew went down just to check to see what the source of the smoke was,” said Pittston Township Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Tony Angelella.

Chief Angelella says his department of 20 members trains for airport emergencies so they can be prepared for situations like this. Earlier this year, they trained with a live burn simulator at the airport.

"You have to do this training because it's not a normal thing that we would do in the fire service. Airplanes compared to building fires or people that are trapped in cars, it's just completely different,” Angelella said.

US Airways officials will visit the airport to inspect the plane, make repairs if needed, and get it back in the air. There is no word when that inspection will happen.

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