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Odor forces Continental jet's early landing

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The crew noticed the strong chemical odor after take off
  • The Boeing 737 was bound for Houston, but returned to San Antonio
  • One person was taken to a hospital

(CNN) -- An unexplained chemical smell forced Continental Airlines flight 007 to return to San Antonio's airport Thursday morning, aviation officials said.

The pilot and a flight attendant noticed the strong odor before the halfway point in the 50-minute trip to Houston, forcing the pilot to turn back to San Antonio, FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said.

The 152 passengers exited the Boeing 737-800 down a set of stairs, where medical crews were waiting to examine them.

San Antonio airport spokeswoman Nora Castro said one person was taken to a hospital for examination.

Airline employees began examining the aircraft for the source of the odor, Lunsford said.

CNN's Mike Ahlers and Devon Sayers contributed to this report.