First lady’s plane lands safely after ‘mechanical issue’

Smoke forces first lady Melania Trump’s plane to turn around en route to Philadelphia

First Lady Melania Trump’s plane en route to Philadelphia was forced to turn around due to smoke. Susan Walsh AP

First lady Melania Trump's plane was forced to return to Joint Base Andrews on Wednesday after a "mechanical issue" that led to smoke in the cabin.

Smoke began to fill the plane, and journalists on board reported a burning smell growing stronger.

The first report came from NBC's Peter Alexander. The first lady's communications director Stephanie Grisham said in a statement that it was simply a "minor mechanical issue", and added, "everything is fine and everyone is safe".

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Within a few minutes the smoke and burning smell began to dissipate, according to the producer.

Mrs Trump recently made her first major solo trip overseas to Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Egypt. She and the crew landed safely a short time later. Secret Service agents we moved to the cockpit and press reporters were given wet towels to hold over their faces. She said the team is "evaluating" whether to make other arrangements to travel to Philadelphia.

The first lady was due at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital to visit infants suffering from opioid exposure in the womb, and talk to their families. The first lady boarded a separate smaller aircraft soon afterwards and continued forward with her trip.

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