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Cops head to Fla. airport as delayed passengers get rowdy

1:36 PM, Oct 24, 2013   |    comments
Stranded Spirit Airlines passengers waiting out long delays at Florida's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Oct. 23, 2013 / CBS
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(CBS News) Several officers were dispatched to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida late Wednesday after Spirit Airlines called to report some passengers were getting unruly, a Broward County Sheriff's Department duty officer tells CBS News.

She said there were some rowdy and irate customers who'd been delayed for hours.

The duty officer says all Spirit Airlines planes were going through mechanical checks, and the carrier didn't have enough mechanics to do them.

Several Spirit flights took off from the airport Wednesday night and early Thursday, but numerous others were delayed.

It wasn't clear how many passengers were waiting or how many were, in Spirit's opinion, getting out of hand. It also wasn't clear what they were doing to spark that concern.

One passenger in a terminal said tempers flared on the plane she was on as it kept sitting on the tarmac. "It was quite crazy," she said. "I was scared a flight was going to happen on the plane. .. Thank goodness we were able to de-board."

Spirit issued a statement saying, "Following the engine failure on one of our aircraft last week, and after reviewing routine maintenance procedures, we are completing a proactive and voluntary check on our aircraft engines overnight as a precautionary measure. These checks take approximately 45 minutes per aircraft.

"Some flights are experiencing significant delays as we complete the checks. Each aircraft is being returned to service as soon as the check is completed.

"We apologize for these delays. We are working diligently to get our customers where they need to go as quickly as possible. We expect all checks to be completed this morning.

Last week, a Spirit plane headed from Dallas to Atlanta had to return to Dallas when smoke in the cabin led the pilot to shut down an engine.

A passenger on that plane told CBS Atlanta affiliate WGCL-TV, "This huge explosion goes bam and we saw the flames come up the side of the plane, which lit up the whole inside of the plane." Another passenger said smoke then filled the cabin.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating that incdient.

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