Delta flight makes emergency landing in SD - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Delta flight makes emergency landing in SD

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Passengers recount scary moments on board a Delta flight that was forced to make an emergency landing at Lindbergh Field this morning.

The plane from San Diego to Salt Lake City was only in the air for about 15 minutes before the problems started.

Smoke in the cabin and pressurization issues caused the oxygen masks to drop and that's when some passengers started to panic.

No one was seriously injured but passengers tell CBS News 8, it was a scary experience.

They also say the pilot and crew did a great job keeping calm and making sure they landed in San Diego safely.

"There was a little bit of hysteria by a couple of people," passenger Melinda Wing said.

Imagine being on an airplane and just 15 minutes after takeoff, the air masks deploy with no explanation at all.

"There was no warning...they just dropped," Wing said.

That's what happened early Saturday morning to 138 passengers on board Delta flight 978 as it left San Diego on its way to Salt Lake City.

Wing shared pictures of the ordeal and described what was going through her and her husband's minds at the time.

"Lots of prayers, thinking what should we have told our kids before we left," Wing said.

She and other witnesses say once the masks came down people were confused.

A minute later, using the intercom, the pilot announced the plane as losing pressure. He then told passengers to put the masks on.

"All of a sudden, everybody's ears started popping and you know they started handing out gum and water to help with the pressurization on the ear drums," passenger Todd Nelson said.

Nelson says babies were crying.

More panic set in after a smoke-like substance started filling the cabin and the pilot maneuvered the plane downward in an effort to restore pressure.

"We came down so fast," Nelson said. "Even the stewardesses were like tucked down."

The flight was eventually rerouted back to San Diego where emergency crews were waiting on the tarmac.

Passengers were rebooked on other flights.

But not everyone wanted to return to the air -- Nelson spent two hours trying to get a refund through Expedia where his ticket was booked.

"Taking a train, or a boat or walking or something...not gonna be up in the air...I can tell you that much," Nelson said.

As for Melinda Wing and her husband, they were heading to Utah to go skiing with their kids. Instead, they plan on rescheduling, saying the experience has made them both grateful and scared.

"Now, that it's over and I'm kinda sets in," Wing said.

Passengers tell us it was a hard landing.

Though some were shaken up, everyone is going to be ok. Medics did check some of the people on board, including a child, who had a severe reaction to the pressure dropping. 

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