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Passenger jet makes emergency landing in Albany

Allegiant Air Flight No. 863 is shown on the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport tarmac after making an emergency landing Sunday night. The plane, carrying 168 passengers and crew, was enroute from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to St. Petersburg, Fla., when a warning light indicated a fire in its cargo hold. All 168 people evacuated the aircraft safely. Officials later determined there was no fire.

Allegiant Air Flight No. 863 is shown on the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport tarmac after making an emergency landing Sunday night. The plane, carrying 168 passengers and crew, was enroute from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to St. Petersburg, Fla., when a warning light indicated a fire in its cargo hold. All 168 people evacuated the aircraft safely. Officials later determined there was no fire.

ALBANY , Ga. — An Allegiant Air MD-80 with 168 passengers and crew aboard made an emergency landing at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport Sunday night after a warning light indicated fire in the aircraft’s cargo hold.

Allegiant flight No. 863 was enroute from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to St. Petersburg, Fla. An Allegiant spokesperson said that the plane’s pilot decided to request permission for an emergency landing after a fire warning light became lit just more than an hour after departure.

“We received a call of a passenger jet coming in for an emergency landing with 168 passengers on board,” SWGA Airport Safety Chief Bernard Ford said. “(The incident) happened after the tower had closed and was on very short notice. We responded with a truck and the Albany Fire Department sent two additional trucks.

The aircraft landed at the local airport around 9 p.m.

After the plan landed, the passengers quickly exited the aircraft via emergency chutes. There were no injuries.

“After we accounted for all of the passengers, we checked the plane’s cargo hold but found no evidence of fire,” Ford said.

The passengers were provided food and buses were brought in to transfer the passengers to St. Petersburg.

The chief speculated that a malfunctioning warning light could be the cause of the emergency landing, but stressed an investigation will be conducted.

Allegiant Air officials are at the airport inspecting the plane.

Calls to the National Transportation Board were not immediately returned.