FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Passengers on a Spirit Airlines flight bound for Las Vegas Friday morning got a scare when the plane had to return to Fort Lauderdale International Airport.

There was a smell of smoke coming from the cockpit and the Spirit pilots decided to return to the airport.

“Everything seemed fine, we were about to take off when it started to smell like burned batteries, burned hair dryer, something like that and everybody said, God, it kind of smells like burned batteries, what’s going on?” said Wendi Grossman, a passenger on the flight and reporter for CBS4 news partner WIOD.

Moments later, Grossman said they were airborne and that’s when the smoke appeared.

“We took off and the cabin immediately filled with smoke and the staff told us to stay calm and came in for what seemed like an abrupt emergency landing,” said Jason Sherman, another passenger on the flight.

Passengers on the flight said many people were scared and crying.

“We were over the ocean and the next thing, smoke starting filling the cabin and the air bags deployed and the captain came on and said we were going to try to turn around, but the plane was really heavy with gas because it was heading all the way to Vegas.”

After circling a bit, the flight landed safely and was able to taxi to the gate under its own power.

“Thank God we were able to safely land at the airport.  The fire and ems crews were there.

Fire fighters got on board as soon as we landed and with extinguishers and everything was ok,” said Grossman.

Passengers said they heard it was a broken AC unit that led to the smoke.

Spirit officials said another one of its planes went on to take the passengers to Las Vegas later Friday morning.

Ted Scouten

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