Montgomery air traffic controller reacts to June 21 emergency landing

Updated: Oct. 24, 2017 at 7:00 PM CDT
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The plane after it landed at Craig Field in Selma (Source: WSFA 12 News)
The plane after it landed at Craig Field in Selma (Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Control tower audio was released Tuesday of Montgomery air traffic controllers helping save the lives of 65 passengers and four crew members aboard an American Eagle flight.

The flight originated out of New Orleans and was bound for Washington when the pilots noticed smoke in the cabin and depressurization. A passenger had also passed out. The pilot declared an in-flight emergency during the June 21 flight.

Montgomery air traffic controllers including John Leslie guided the plane to a safe emergency landing in at Craig Field in Selma despite there being no control tower there.

"Probably the most stressful part for me was when we lost radar contact," Leslie recalled, "and the time between that and when we got the manager on the phone to make sure that they landed safely. After that it was relief."

The passengers were then bused to Montgomery Regional Airport where they were able to board a new plane to their destination.

Copyright 2017 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.