First, smoke was reported on an American Airlines flight after landing in Denver. Then passengers saw the cabin fill with a light haze.
What followed was a calm exit from the plane with 164 passengers and crew members sliding down emergency chutes into the frigid weather outside.
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The plane, operated by U.S. Airways, was taxiing to the gate after arriving from Charlotte, North Carolina, when smoke was reported just before noon Wednesday, airport spokeswoman Mindy Crane said.
The captain ordered that the chutes be activated, and those aboard slid to safety from Flight 445, said Crane and American Airlines spokeswoman Andrea Huguely.
Passengers said the evacuation was calm.
While the plane was taxiing, passenger Andy Long said he noticed a smell like that from an emergency brake left on in a running car, and then he saw the haze.
"That's when they said 'Everybody get out, get out, get out. Don't take your stuff,'" he said.
Long praised the crew's handling of the situation and seemed to take the experience in stride.
On Instagram, he said he can now take using an emergency plane exit off his bucket list.
Meanwhile, Lindsay Geisler said passengers had to wait about 20 minutes before the buses arrived to carry them to the terminal, and they did not start getting their baggage until more than two hours after the evacuation.
Still, she remained upbeat.
"It's been great to see how people rally together and help out one another when you get put into a situation like this," she said.
One minor injury was reported, but it wasn't immediately clear how that person was hurt.
There was no sign of a fire inside the plane, and exactly what happened remains under investigation, Crane said.
American Airlines has been in contact with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration, Huguely said.
Associated Press writer Alina Hartounian contributed to this report from Phoenix.