United Airlines declares fire emergency over the Pacific Ocean
335 passengers and 13 crew were on board this United Airlines plane. Thousands of miles away from any airport in the middle of the Pacific Ocean halfway between Hawaii and Guam, a commercial United Airlines passenger flight got in serious trouble today. Among the passengers on board were many tourists looking forward to exploring exotic Guam beaches. They got their share of exotic beaches alright when their plane made an emergency landing on Midway Island halfway between Asia and Hawaii.
A smoke-filled cabin, malfunctioning controls, and a loss of power forced the crew to declare an emergency, and they were able to safely land the widebody aircraft on the former military Midway Island airport at night.
Midway Island is actually an atoll that is just 2.4-square-miles in size. The island formerly housed the Midway Naval Air Station, and today 40 to 60 members of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service live on the atoll.
United flight 201 from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Guam landed on Midway Island, with passengers grateful to make it safely to land. The 777 was completely filled with anxious passengers, some praying, some shaking, some crying.
According to one of the passengers, the crew said the electricity started to go out in the cockpit and the radar sensors went out as they prepared for the emergency landing.
Even before flight 201 took off from Honolulu, there was a peculiar odor. The flight was delayed for three hours, after which time United mechanics said the plane safe to fly. Five hours into the flight, however, the smell came back, and this time they were halfway across the Pacific.
The pilots diverted the aircraft to a former US Naval station at Midway Island, the site of the famous Battle of Midway during WWII.
Once landed, passengers disembarked and spent hours waiting in a gymnasium until a replacement plane came to pick them up and fly them back to Hawaii.