The Orioles team charter heading to Tampa Bay on Sunday night was forced to make an emergency landing in Jacksonville because of smoke coming out of the oven in the kitchen area of the plane, an industry source said.
The landing was a precautionary move. The plane was inspected and the Orioles were slated to reboard to get back in the air shortly after a brief delay en route to St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport.
When the Orioles landed in St. Petersburg around 11 p.m. Sunday, the team issued the following statement about the incident:
“Due to a minor incident in the galley, the Orioles charter made an unscheduled landing in Jacksonville, Fla. en route to St. Petersburg tonight. After the plane was inspected was inspected, all crew and passengers reboarded and flew to St. Petersburg without further incident. This unscheduled landing was done with an abundance of caution and at no time was anyone on the flight in danger.”
Buck Showalter later spoke about the mishap with the Orioles’ plane.
“I didn’t get my coffee so I am a little ornery,” he said. “You all know how I am when I don’t get a cup of coffee. They were getting ready to heat up coffee, that’s what happened. So it’s my fault.”
The Orioles manager was later asked if he was nervous as the plane made its emergency landing.
“We were in good hands,” Showalter said. “It was a precautionary thing just to be on the safe side. We had a little something heat up on the plane that the professionals didn’t like what was going on. So just check it out, be on the safe side. We stopped in Jacksonville, got it checked out. Fixed whatever the problem was, got right back on the plane and took off. Gave everybody a chance to get off the plane and watch some of the Eagles game. So it worked out good.”
On Twitter, Orioles rookie Xavier Avery expressed his relief in the O’s safe landing.
“Thank u Jesus we made it off the plane safely... we had to have a emergency landing... everything turned out fine though.”