WASHINGTON --A potential crisis started just after an Alaska Airlines flight took off from Washington's Reagan Airport on Monday. The two pilots reported an oily smelling smoke filling the cockpit.
"Declaring an emergency. We have smoke in the cockpit," one of the pilots called in to Air Traffic Control.
"We need vectors immediately to Dulles [Airport]."
The flight was a 737 with 161 passengers and 6 crew bound for Seattle. It turned into a tense 16-minute flight to the nearby Dulles Airport.
"Basically we don't know where the source of the smoke came from, we're assuming it was either the engine or the APU," one of the pilots said.
"We took off with the APU running, it did not come from cabin, we got verification of that from the flight attendants," he continued.
The pilots asked for fire crews to meet them on the runaway. "We are cleared to land and we'll be stopping the aircraft on the runway 1-9 left."
A passenger told CBS News she noticed a burning smell right after takeoff. The airline is still looking for the source of the smoke, and both pilots asked to be checked out by doctors upon landing.