United airliner has pressure problems in flight; minor injuries reported


Wednesday, March 28th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6



LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A United Airlines jet had to make an emergency return to Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday because of cabin pressure problems, authorities said. Seven people suffered minor injuries.

United Flight 100, bound for Orlando, Fla., and carrying 126 people, turned around about an hour into the flight, which left shortly after 9 a.m., authorities said.

Paramedics treated the injured for nosebleeds and ear aches, and six of the seven were taken to hospitals for examinations, authorities said.

Passenger Paul Lukas said the cabin pressure in the Airbus A320 kept changing as the flight took off and headed east.

``There was something funny about it,'' said Lukas, a Torrance businessman flying to Orlando for business. ``Ten minutes into the flight, the oxygen containers dropped. Then I knew something was wrong.''

Before the masks dropped, Lukas said, cold air came through the ventilation system. He also noticed an odd smell, ``similar to smoke.''

The call came in when the plane was at 14,000 feet, said Jerry Snyder, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.

After landing, the plane taxied to a terminal and the passengers walked off the plane. An FAA inspector was at the airport, Snyder said.

The twin-engine A320, manufactured by the European consortium Airbus Industrie, seats up to 150 passengers and has a range of 3,000 nautical miles.

United Airlines spokesman Chris Braithwaite in Chicago didn't immediately return telephone calls.