An American Airlines flight from San Diego to Charlotte made an emergency landing just before noon Monday at Yuma International Airport, leaving 154 passengers stranded here on one of the hottest days of the year.

Airport spokeswoman Gen Grosse said the plane landed safely at 11:52 a.m. west of the airport terminal, and there was never any threat to passenger safety.

The passengers were kept on the plane until about 1:30 p.m., at which point they were escorted into the passenger area, where most waited for another plane which was being sent there to take them to Charlotte.

It eventually arrived, and took off around 5:50 p.m.

A few passengers did venture past the security checkpoint to get drinks or a meal at the Brewers restaurant just across from the gate, including Brian Joyce, an Orlando resident who switched his itinerary around so he would still be getting home Monday night.

He said the flight from San Diego was interrupted when the pilot announced the plane was being diverted to Yuma because the oven used for in-flight food preparation wasn't working.

"They didn't give us much information, it was all pretty abrupt," he said.

Another traveler, Lance Williams, also said there wasn't much fanfare made about the issue.

"It was pretty uneventful, it was handled pretty cool, pretty bland," he said, which helped keep the panic in the cabin down to a minimum.

"Nobody was really scared or anything, except for those who were already afraid of flying," Williams said.

Grosse said first responders from the Yuma police and fire departments, along with other agencies, were there as planned for such events. Grosse said emergency landing drills are held four times a year. "Everybody has their roles and responsibilities, and everything's been going very well."

Williams, heading back to Charlotte after visiting a San Diego dispensary he's part-owner of, described the Yuma airport as "small, quaint, wasn't meant to handle a lot of people.

"Yuma's people have been very friendly to us, so I think it's a nice little place. It's small, but the taste is sweet."

Joyce said he grew up in Chandler, and vaguely remembers coming to Yuma as a kid with his family to explore historical sites. He didn't really know what to expect from its airport.

"It's nice there's a bar here, I wasn't expecting there to be one," he said.

Grosse said the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration would send investigators to Yuma to examine the grounded aircraft.

Yuma Sun reporter Blake Herzog can be reached at 928-539-6856 or bherzog@yumasun.com.

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