ORLANDO, Fla. – An Allegiant fight traveling from Sanford to Flint, Michigan, was diverted Monday after a sensor went off in the cargo hold, an Allegiant spokesperson said.
“The flight was diverted to Knoxville, Tennessee, out of an abundance of caution after an indicator light issue," said Krysta Levy, of Allegiant Air media relations.
There were 150 passengers and six crew members on board, Levy said.
The flight-tracking website, FlightAware.com, shows that Flight No. 676 from Orlando-Sanford International Airport landed in Knoxville at 10:51 a.m.
The McDonnell Douglas MD-83 twin-jet airplane took off just before 9 a.m. Monday and reached an altitude of 32,000 feet before coming down for a landing at McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, according to FlightAware.com.
"We had just gotten up to cruising altitude and we heard a big bang," passenger Caley McCarthy said.
She said soon afterward, the captain announced that the plane would be making a landing in Knoxville.
"I’ve certainly never descended from 30,000 feet in a plane that quickly, ever," she said. "The kids in the plane, a lot of them were crying and upset because we were going down so fast (that) the cabin pressure was changing too quickly for their ears to keep up with."
Another aircraft was sent to Knoxville to take the passengers to Flint.
McCarthy said they landed just after 6 p.m. EDT.
News 6 asked Allegiant about the loud bangs McCarthy heard, and a spokesperson said all of the mechanics of the airplane were fine.
The flight diversion comes after a recent “60 Minutes” report detailed many safety problems on Allegiant Air, and a passenger on a Southwest Airline's flight was killed when the jet's engine failed and shrapnel shattered a passenger window.
The report on Allegiant Air showed that the airline had experienced more than 100 serious mechanical incidents between the start of 2016 and October 2017, including midair engine failures, smoke and fumes in the cabin, rapid descents, flight control malfunctions, hydraulic leaks and aborted takeoffs.