Plane diverted to Toronto after pilot spills coffee

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:43 AM ET

A United Airlines flight from Chicago to Germany was diverted to Toronto's Pearson Airport late Monday night after the pilot spilled a coffee, Transport Canada reports.

The coffee interfered with the plane's navigation and communication system and sent out distress signals including code 7500 — unlawful interference, or a hijacking — and code 7600, which means the plane has lost communications.

"With the help of their company dispatch staff, the flight crew was confirmed the problem to be a NAV(navigation)/communication issue and not a valid code 7500. The flight crew initially diverted to return to Chicago but subsequently declared an emergency ... and diverted to Toronto," the report on Transport Canada's civil aviation daily occurrence reporting system says.

"Staff reported that the United Airlines, Inc. corporate office had indicated that the pilot in command had inadvertently squawked a 7500 code after spilling coffee on the aircraft's radio equipment."

After the communication issues, the flight crew made the decision to land the Boeing 777 in Toronto around 10 p.m. Monday. United Airlines sent a second plane to Toronto, which picked up the 255 passengers and took them back to Chicago. The passengers were able to board a fight to Frankfurt, Germany on Tuesday.

A United spokesman told CNN a review is underway and it was too soon to comment on what happened.


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