Ill. Democrats have emergency landing

May 22, 2009 at 9:20 PM
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PITTSBURGH, May 22 (UPI) -- A United Airlines from Washington to Chicago with U.S. Sen. Roland Burris and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky aboard made an emergency landing Friday, Schakowsky said.

Politico reported the plane was experiencing mechanical difficulties.

Schakowsky, like Roland a Democrat from Illinois, said the flight was diverted to Pittsburgh because of problems with the airplane's hydraulic system.

Schakowsky said the plane's pilot said how grateful he was to have landed the jet. Passengers told WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh they applaud the pilot who landed the aircraft without the use of flaps. No one was hurt in the incident, the TV station said.

Schakowsky said the passengers were being put on a new plane to Chicago. CBS reported White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers was also on board. The total number of people on the flight wasn't reported.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported Burris spokesman Jim O'Connor said the senator told him he heard a loud bang when United Flight 615 left the ground, and the noises became deafening and the plane began to shake once it was aloft. There was was turbulence, O'Connor said.

Emergency vehicles were stationed on the tarmac in case they were needed.

Burris assisted an elderly woman disembark, the Sun-Times said.

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