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Canes’ return flight from the West Coast made an emergency landing

The Carolina Hurricanes’ return flight from their recent West Coast road trip had an unexpected, unsettling stop.

The Canes’ charter flight early Saturday morning made an emergency landing at Tulsa International Airport in Tulsa, Okla. The Swift Air flight originated in Long Beach, Calif., after the Canes’ 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.

Mike Sundheim, the Canes’ vice president of communications, said there was a noxious smell in the airplane cabin. The pilots announced it as an emergency situation and those seated near the emergency exits were guided through the procedures of an emergency landing.

Sundheim said when the Boeing 737 landed in Tulsa at 4:20 a.m., there were fire trucks and other emergency vehicles on hand.

“I’ve never been through anything quite like that,” Canes forward Jordan Martinook said Monday. “Whenever you smell smoke you get a little worried. We went down pretty quick from whatever, 35,000 feet, and landed pretty fast. Check that one off the bucket list, I guess.”

Firefighters inspected the plane during the two and one-half hours on the ground, both in the cargo holds and in the main cabin to check out the vents from which the burning odor was emanating, Sundheim said.

Sundheim said an on-board mechanic determined the source of the odor was a malfunctioning circuit board on the air data computer. Repairs were made and the flight continued. There were no injuries.

The Canes returned to Raleigh at 9:10 a.m.

“That happens quite a bit,” Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “Every team goes through it. Talk to the guys in this league and there are some hairy flights. We do a lot of flying.”

In more than 30 years at The N&O, Chip Alexander has covered the N.C. State, UNC, Duke and East Carolina beats, and now is in his 11th season on the Carolina Hurricanes beat. Alexander, who has won numerous writing awards at the state and national level, covered the Hurricanes’ move to North Carolina in 1997 and was a part of The N&O’s coverage of the Canes’ 2006 Stanley Cup run.
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