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Spirit Airlines passengers, crew removed from LaGuardia flight after smoke detected, officials say

Passengers are served at a ticket counter for

Passengers are served at a ticket counter for Spirit Airlines at LaGuardia Airport in this file photo taken on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010. Credit: AP

Passengers and crew on a Spirit Airlines flight were removed from the plane at LaGuardia Airport Saturday morning after smoke was detected, airline and Port Authority officials said, but no one was hurt.

The 228 passengers and seven crew members aboard Spirit Airlines Flight 197, an Airbus 321 scheduled for a 10:59 a.m. departure to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida, were taken off the plane at the gate “following reports of sparks in the auxiliary power unit,” an airline spokesman said in a statement.

The auxiliary power unit, described as a generator that provides electricity to the plane when it’s on the ground, detected the issue and immediately powered itself off, the spokesman said.

“All passengers safely exited the plane and we are working to keep them up-to-date at the gate,” the statement said.

A Port Authority spokeswoman said the agency’s fire rescue service responded to Flight 197 after the airline called in a smoke condition, assessed the situation and found no visible smoke. The flight never left the gate, the spokeswoman said. The flight was canceled and travelers were directed back to Terminal B for rebooking.

“Our maintenance team is evaluating the plane and conducting safety checks before it’s cleared for takeoff,” the Spirit Airlines statement continued. “We apologize for any inconvenience to our customers and we are offering to rebook any passengers who prefer to take another Spirit flight.”

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