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Smoking Bag Prompts Evacuation of Southwest Airlines Flight



A Southwest Airlines flight bound for Austin, Texas was forced to evacuate at Chicago Midway International Airport after a bag began smoking while passengers were boarding on Monday morning.

Southwest confirmed that no one was injured when the backpack, which was containing electronics, started to smoke, prompting flight attendants to spring into action and place the luggage into a fire-resistant bag.

Emergency crews were also called to the scene. The airline said that a different plane would be brought in to complete the scheduled flight from Chicago to Austin.

“We’re grateful for the swift and safety-minded support by Chicago’s first responders to our employees and customers this morning at a gate at Midway Airport,” a Southwest spokesperson said in a statement obtained by Fox News. “We have no reported injuries or requests for medical attention after Flight 285 to Austin was in the process of being boarded for departure, when smoke began visibly showing around a customer’s backpack onboard the aircraft.”

“Following our protocol, flight attendants placed the backpack in a fire-resistant bag that’s stocked onboard our aircraft. The crew asked our customers to come off the airplane and move into the gate holding room,” the airline added. “The flight will continue using a different aircraft and we thank our customers for their patience as we place nothing higher in importance than ultimate safety.”

Passenger Samantha Snabes shared images of the response on Twitter, lauding the flight crew and first reponders for their “professionalism.”

Monday’s incident comes just five months after a passenger’s carry-on bag caught fire at Yeager Airport in Charleston, West Virginia following a small explosion caused by two lithium batteries attached to a charger. Last November, officials closed a portion of Boston Logan International Airport after an e-cigarette ignited inside of a suitcase. However, both of those incidents occurred at TSA checkpoints.

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