And the airline mishaps continue—luckily, with more safe endings. United Airlines Flight 497 to San Francisco returned to New Orleans minutes after takeoff today after the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit, the FAA said. As soon as the plane was on the ground, flight attendants shouted "Leave everything. Get out!" Passengers slid down the front and back slides. A few passengers walked to an ambulance after a call for anyone with injuries.
The injuries appeared to be minor, such as abrasions from the slide; all 100 passengers and five crew are safe. The plane's copilot told an AP reporter who was on the plane that he landed on backup systems, with minimal steering and braking ability, after the plane lost all electronics. "When things start to go wrong, there's always a system ... we can go back to," he said.