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Excess oil disrupts flight; Northwest jet returns after Hector takeoff

A Northwest Airlines flight bound for Minneapolis returned moments after leaving Fargo Thursday morning after the crew found smoke coming from the rear passenger cabin.

A Northwest Airlines flight bound for Minneapolis returned moments after leaving Fargo Thursday morning after the crew found smoke coming from the rear passenger cabin.

Passengers said Flight 606 left Fargo about 11:15 a.m. and the airplane experienced problems minutes after taking off from Hector International Airport.

The plane was carrying 64 passengers and five crew members.

Kathy Vanyo, 49, of Moorhead said a "burning rubber" smell spread through the plane.

"It was a little scary but we got back on the ground uneventfully," Vanyo said shortly after the plane returned to the airport and a host of fire trucks.

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Vanyo said she was attempting to catch a flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta for her daughter's graduation ceremony from Georgia State University.

Northwest Airlines spokesman Kurt Ebenhoch said the DC-9 plane was inspected and airline workers attributed the smoke to excess engine oil.

Ebenhoch said the flight was cancelled and the airline would attempt to accommodate all of the passengers.

"We certainly regret the delay but their safety is our first concern," Ebenhoch said.

Book author Donna Woolfolk Cross, 55, of Syracuse, N.Y., said it was her second unsuccessful attempt to leave Fargo in as many days.

The New Yorker was in town to speak about her novel, "Pope Joan."

A flight Wednesday night was cancelled because of the stormy weather in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, she said.

"I've decided to look for real estate in Fargo," Cross joked afterward.

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Cross said she knew something was wrong almost immediately after the plane left Fargo.

Flight attendants began running down the aisle and a fire alarm beeped, she said.

"It was a few exciting moments," she said.

"Everybody was a little alert and nervous."

Lisa Brooks, 48, of Moorhead said Flight 606 had already been delayed about three hours because the flight crew was late arriving to Fargo.

At first, Brooks said she thought the commotion was over someone smoking in the bathroom.

Soon, Brooks and her son, 18-year-old Andy, found out there were problems with the plane.

"I'm glad they're taking care of us and being safe," she said.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Steven P. Wagner at (701) 241-5542

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