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'Definitely very scary': YVR-bound flight makes emergency evacuation
VANCOUVER -- Nearly 24 hours after Victoria Pendergast got through an emergency landing and evacuation, she is back at an airport and about to board another flight.
Pendergast was one of 74 passengers who was on board AC8839, a Vancouver-bound flight that was forced to make an unscheduled landing shortly after leaving San Francisco International Airport Sunday morning.
"You could smell something a little bit off as soon as we took off," she told CTV News.
She said the plane was in the air for about two or three minutes before a flight attendant made an announcement that there was a bit of smoke and crews didn't know if it was coming from the front or back of the plane so they were turning around.
Pendergast said the attendant sounded calm in the first announcement but things promptly changed as soon as they landed.
"It just happened so quickly. We just stopped, and then I just heard her screaming, 'evacuate, evacuate,'" Pendergast said. "I kind of looked up and then everyone was already running down the aisles."
Pendergast requires crutches and said she's grateful a fellow passenger came to her aid.
"I was really lucky that a really nice guy picked me up and literally carried me off a plane."
A spokesperson for Jazz Aviation, which operated the flight for Air Canada under its Air Canada Express brand, told CTV News Vancouver the crew aboard the flight received "a rear lavatory smoke detector indication."
"Emergency vehicles met and inspected the aircraft -- there was no fire," said spokesperson Manon Stuart.
There is no word yet on exactly what caused the fire detector to go off.
Pendergast commends the crew members on how they handled the emergency evacuation and their quick thinking.
"It was definitely very scary because if it wasn't picked up early, or anything like that, we could’ve been in the air for 20 minutes and had to make an emergency landing in a field or something really bad could happen...so it's crazy," she said.
Pendergast's original flight was supposed to be a quick layover at YVR, but because she had to get rescheduled, she was able to visit her sister who lives in Vancouver.
"We catch planes all the time, and the fact that something like that could happen to her, that she was stuck in San Francisco with no one there to look after her, I was really worried," said Kate Pendergast.
To help lighten the mood, a cake was purchased that said, "Congrats on not dying today."
"She thought it was hilarious. She has a sick sense of humour," Kate quipped.
But the trip to B.C. was short as Pendergast left Vancouver for a flight to Calgary Monday morning.
She said from now on, she will keep all her valuables on her – such as phone, wallet and passport – in case she needs to leave at a moment's notice.