Smoke reported on board an Air Transat flight forced an emergency landing Saturday at a New Jersey airport, where the 189 passengers were evacuated by emergency slides.
Air Transat Flight 942 was on its way from Montreal to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when it reported a possible fire in the cargo hold and was diverted to Newark Liberty International Airport at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, a Federal Aviation Administration representative said.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has also released a statement on the incident saying, ‘Air Transat Flight 942, a Boeing 737, reported a possible fire in the cargo hold and diverted to Newark Liberty International Airport at 8:30 am.
— The FAA (@FAANews) March 9, 2019
‘The aircraft landed on Runway 4 Right and remained on the runway while airport firefighters responded. Passengers evacuated on the runway via emergency slides. The source of the smoke reported in the cargo hold has not yet been confirmed.’
The Boeing 737 landed and remained on the runway while airport firefighters responded, and passengers evacuated via emergency slides, she said. Passengers were then taken by bus to the terminal.
Two of the 189 passengers reported minor injuries, neither related to smoke, and one was taken to a hospital to be examined, said Steve Coleman, deputy director of media relations at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. No fire was found and the cause of the smoke remains under investigation, he said.
“Our 189 passengers’ safety is our top priority and they were evacuated promptly upon landing,” said Debbie Cabana, Air Transat marketing director. Another aircraft was to be sent to Newark to operate the flight to Fort Lauderdale, she said.
#EWR, Due to an airport emergency, all runways are currently closed. Please contact your airline for flight status update. 
— Newark Liberty Airport (@EWRairport) March 9, 2019
Both runways were closed during what Newark Liberty called an “airport emergency,” but officials later announced that flights had resumed.
The source of the smoke was not immediately clear, but cargo hold fires have become a concern among federal officials and lawmakers. Last month, the Department of Transportation unveiled stricter rules for the transportation of lithium ion batteries by air due to fears of fires in cargo holds.
As noted by the FAA, the Boeing 737 remained on Runway 4R at Newark Airport leading to numerous diversions and multiple delayed departures.
Inbound flights were diverted to airports across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic including Washington-Dulles and Philadelphia.