First lady Melania Trump's plane forced to return to Joint Base Andrews

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Melania Trump's plane forced to return
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Raw video from first lady Melania Trump's plane after it was forced to return to Joint Base Andrews on its way to Philadelphia on October 17, 2018.

PHILADELPHIA -- The first lady's trip to Philadelphia has been delayed after her plane had to turn around due to a mechanical issue that caused smoke and a burning smell.

Action News is told the plane carrying Melania Trump and a pool of reporters returned to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland Wednesday morning after 10 minutes in the air.

According to reports from inside the plane, Secret Service officers hopped up from their seats and headed toward the front of the plane.

A few moments later, a thin haze of smoke could be seen. Reports state there was also a smell of something burning that grew stronger.

The members of the press were brought wet towels and told to hold them over their faces if the smell became too strong.

A crew member said the issue stemmed from "a malfunctioning comms unit" that had overheated, but the White House has not confirmed that information.

Within minutes, the smoke reportedly cleared and the smell slowly began to dissipate.

The plane landed back at Joint Base Andrews around 9 a.m. Officials say Trump's trip was being re-evaluated, but a Health and Human Services spokesperson tells 6abc Action News she will still be coming to Philadelphia.

The first lady was traveling to Philly to meet with families of children who were affected by exposure to opioids while in the womb.

Mrs. Trump was being joined on her visit to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

The hospital has provided care to mothers with opioid use disorder and their newborn children for more than 45 years.

Mrs. Trump also plans to tour a neonatal intensive care nursery and speak at a U.S. health department conference on a new system that tracks infants suffering from opiate withdrawal.

The first lady's visit is one of the stops she's making to promote her "Be Best" campaign, which focuses on major issues affecting children, including the importance of healthy pregnancies.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.