First lady Melania Trump’s plane was forced to return to Joint Base Andrews Wednesday after a “mechanical issue” that led to smoke in the cabin.
According to the press pool traveling with Trump, about 10 minutes after the plane took off, reporters could see a thin haze of smoke and the smell of something burning. Reporters were brought wet towels and told to hold them over their faces if the smell became too strong.
The plane, a Boeing C-32A, landed safely. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar also was on the plane, a pool report said.
The White House did not immediately provide an official explanation of what happened. Stephanie Grisham, Trump’s communications director, told CNN the incident was a “minor mechanical issue. Everything is fine and everyone is safe.”
In a statement, the Air Force said the smoke at the front of the plane “originated from communication equipment which was shut-down after the occurrence,” and that the plane returned to Joint Base Andrews as a precaution.
Trump was headed to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, where she was scheduled to make remarks about neonatal abstinence syndrome. She was originally scheduled to return to Washington Wednesday afternoon.
The trip remains on for later Wednesday and the first lady will take a different plane, Grisham said.
CNN’s Allie Malloy and Ryan Browne contributed to this report.