Allegiant Airlines flight makes emergency landing

- Passengers on an Allegiant Airlines flight from Moline, Illinois to St. Pete-Clearwater airport did not expect their plane would be emergency-landed on Wednesday - but it was.

Flight 871 was towed into the gate after making an emergency landing around 12:30 p.m.

Around 140 people were onboard when the plane had a mechanical issue. Allegiant spokeswoman Jessica Wheeler told FOX 13 News St. Pete-Clearwater was already the nearest airport when pilots had to land the plane.

Airport crews took extra precautions - including dispatching local fire engines to the runway - as an extra precaution for the emergency landing.

"Our mechanics are doing a full investigation and inspection to diagnose and repair the issue," Allegiant Airlines said in a statement.

The airline has had a series of mechanical issues and emergency landings in the past year. WESH-TV reports a Monday flight from Orlando to North Carolina was forced to turn back to the airport because of a number of issues, including electrical problems.

“I was assuming, as soon as I heard that they had those issues, that my flight would have been safer,” said Allegiant passenger Tina Gatt at St. Pete-Clearwater airport on Wednesday. “But hearing the plane that landed just before us kind of does concern me.” 

The FAA started a review of the airline in April – two years ahead of schedule – because of the ongoing flight issues. The report could be released as early as next month. 

The problems caused a ripple of delays, while crews found another plane for an outbound flight.

Flight 890, a St. Petersburg to Fort Wayne, Indiana flight scheduled to depart before 2 p.m. Wednesday was delayed by several hours. Then, Flight 891 from Fort Wayne to St. Petersburg was scheduled to arrive Wednesday evening. It would also be delayed.

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