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UPDATE: SkyWest flight burned fuel for an hour before emergency landing

A SkyWest flight headed to Minneapolis from Pasco had to make an emergency return landing at the Tri-Cities Airport at 12:30 p.m.

Buck Taft, airport director, said that a nose gear indicator light came on inside the plane, prompting the pilot to turn around back for Pasco.

The flight, SkyWest/Delta 4475, took off at 11:04 a.m. It already had been delayed since 6:20 a.m. because of the icy weather.

The Bombardier twin-engine jet, operated by SkyWest for Delta Airlines, was on a direct flight with about 70 people on board. No one was hurt.

Flightaware.com, which uses publicly available data to track flight paths, shows the flight didn’t even clear Franklin County before bending north, then flying in circles.

skywest_flightpath
Here’s the flight path taken by the Delta Connection Bombardier operated by SkyWest Airlines before it made an emergency landing Friday at the Tri-Cities Airport. The plane was circling to burn off fuel in case there was a problem with the landing gear. It landed safely at 12:30 p.m. FlightAware.com

Officials said the plane had to burn fuel so it could land safely. It circled for more than an hour before coming down around 12:30 p.m.

The plane was able to taxi up to the terminal and did not appear to have any obvious equipment problems.

Pasco emergency crews waited at the airport in case there was a more serious landing. Buses were brought in to haul passengers if needed.

“We are working to help passengers resume their travels as quickly as possible,” Delta spokeswoman Marissa Snow said.

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