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New Southwest Mechanical Problem Turns Back Oakland Flight

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- A Southwest Airlines flight from Oakland, Calif., to Denver returned shortly after takeoff on Tuesday when a wing slat warning light made the pilot decide it was safer to turn around.

   The plane was a Boeing 737-700 series -- a different model than the jetliner that had a fuselage tear over Arizona.

   The flight landed without incident about 7:30 a.m., and the 103 passengers were put on another flight about two hours later, Oakland airport spokeswoman Joanne Holloway said.

   The wing slat, which helps slow and maneuver the plane during takeoffs and landings, is out of the pilot's field of view, Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz said.

   The plane could have flown to Denver with adjustments, but the pilot felt the aircraft was close enough to Oakland to return and get it checked, he said.

   "It could just be an indication light, that's all stuff they're looking into now. This is not uncommon," Mainz said.

   The airport did not classify the event as an emergency landing but instead as a lesser yellow warning, Holloway said. The incident has not affected other flights.

   (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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