Flight 24 left Kahului Airport at 11:18 a.m. heading for Oakland, but after 10 minutes, the flight crew declared an emergency.
Hawaiian Airlines said an odor of fumes could be smelled in the cabin of the plane, while the Federal Aviation Administration said the smell was detected in the cockpit.
Ultimately, the pilot returned to Kahului.
A passenger on that flight told KHON2 that soon after the plane took off, it “was doing weird stuff. It didn’t seem to be going up and leveling off. It seemed we only got up and then come back down again. We were back below the clouds, which seemed weird it would happen. It banged a couple ways here and there in an odd way. It started becoming apparent that something was going on.
“About eight minutes total into the flight, the pilot came on, he sounded really nervous. Everybody on the flight was looking at each other. He was doing his best, and in hindsight did a great job. But he was nervous, stuttering a little bit. He said we’d be back on the ground in 10 minutes. … We just were blind at that point. Pretty soon, stewardesses went down the aisles, looking into the compartments because we could smell smoke. Something was burning.”
“You could just smell a little bit of smoke coming up. I was in the first class cabin and didn’t really smell very much until right after we landed then we started to smell it, but people mid-flight were coughing,” said passenger Sharlene Harper.