Bakersfield-bound United Express flight diverted over "mechanical issue"

Flight safely arrived in Bakersfield Thursday

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A United Express flight heading from San Francisco to Bakersfield was diverted to Fresno late Wednesday night over a mechanical issue.

United Express 5373 left San Francisco International Airport at 10:07 p.m. Wednesday, but changed its course shortly after departure.

The flight landed at Fresno Yosemite International Airport just after 11:00 p.m.

Passengers say fire engines with flashing lights met the plane on the runway.

"It was a smooth landing," said passenger Jeff Feghali.  "You couldn't even tell anything was wrong beside the fact that we weren't at the right airport."

More than a dozen passengers waited in Fresno for about 90 minutes before boarding a different plane and completing the voyage to Bakersfield.  Some told 23ABC that the pilot bought coffee for everyone.

The flight arrived safely at Meadows Field Airport at 1:00 a.m. Thursday.

SkyWest, which operates the United Express flight, released the following statement:

"United Express flight 5373, operated by SkyWest, from San Francisco to Bakersfield, diverted to Fresno Wednesday evening due to a mechanical issue.  The Embraer 120 aircraft, with 18 passengers and 3 crew on board, landed safely and without incident in Fresno at approximately 11 p.m.  Our maintenance team is inspecting the aircraft."

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