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Two Boeing Planes Diverted

Shaken passengers, some wrapped in blankets, were relieved to be safely back on the ground early this morning after their Boeing 747 made an emergency landing in Newfoundland.

"I was not calm. I have my four-month-old baby with me," one passenger told CBS News Correspondent Bob Orr.

British Airways Flight 222, enroute from Washington to London, was cruising over the North Atlantic when the pilots and chief flight attendant John Streek smelled smoke in the cockpit.


Streek says that he "definitely" smelled the smoke.

The pilots declared an emergency, donned protective smoke hoods, and turned back for St. John's. The plane's 227 passengers were alerted -- first with an audio tape that said "Attention, attention, this is an emergency." Then they heard from the crew.

"The captain came on to say, 'We're turning back to Newfoundland to make an emergency landing,'" recalled passenger Roy Burris.


Chief Flight Attendant John Streek

The captain warned passengers it might be rough. It was clear that the pilots were thinking about the recent Swissair crash.

The Swissair MD-11 jetliner crashed Sept. 2 off Nova Scotia, killing all 229 people aboard. The plane went down while after its pilot reported smoke in the cockpit.

"He came on again about five minutes before the landing and said that because of recent news events we were doing this as a precaution," said Eric Bridges, a passenger.

In fact, reports of smoke and emergency landings seems to be happening more frequently. Early Tuesday, American Airlines Flight 87, enroute from London to Chicago, was forced to land after smoke got into the air conditioning system. The Boeing 747 was diverted to Boston's Logan Airport.

And Canadian investigators, busy looking for the cause of the Swissair crash, have seen a fivefold increase in the number of reports of smoke and suspicious odors.

It's all out of an abundance of caution, aviation experts say. Investigators suspect the "smoke" in the British Airways incident was nothing more than vapor from a humidifier. But Swissair has taught pilots to take no chances, no matter how small the danger may seem.

Boeing took over production of the MD-11 when it purchased St. Louis-based McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Earlier this year, Boeing announced that it planned to stop making the airliner in 2000. The MD-11 is the world's only modern wide-cabin airliner powered by three engines.

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