Mitt Romney's wife, Ann, landed safely in California on Friday evening, hours after the 10-seat charter plane carrying her from Omaha to the West Coast filled with smoke and was forced to make an emergency landing in Denver.
Ann Romney's spokeswoman, Sarah Haley, who was traveling with her and three other aides, said smoke began filling the cabin of the Canadair Challenger 601 about halfway through the flight from Omaha to Santa Monica. The crew members conferred with the two Secret Service agents on board and “immediately made the call to land in Denver,” Haley said.
During the descent, which Haley said lasted about 10 minutes, the sole flight attendant used the fire extinguisher to try to control the smoke billowing into the cabin, which aides were told was probably caused by an electrical fire. Though Haley said she did not see any flames, the plane smelled like burning rubber and the smoke caused eye irritation for some passengers and a burning sensation in their throats. No one on board had to use oxygen masks, and no one was injured or treated for any symptoms related to the smoke.
There were at least eight firetrucks and other emergency vehicles on the runway when the plane landed, and Romney, accompanied by the Secret Service agents, was the first to evacuate the plane by the small set of stairs.