12/21/2011 11:19 EST | Updated 02/20/2012 05:12 EST

Cockpit fire forces emergency landing

Ottawa firefighters and paramedics responded Wednesday morning after reports of smoke in the cockpit of a large plane.

The aircraft, which was carrying 52 people, had to make an emergency landing at Ottawa's MacDonald-Cartier airport just after 8 a.m., firefighters said.

The U.S. Airways plane was 30 minutes into its flight after taking off from Ottawa and headed to Charlotte, N.C., before it had to turn back.

The plane landed safely and paramedics said there were no injuries.

Many passengers said they had no idea what was happening when the plane made the emergency landing.

'I'm glad we're alive'

Linda Poirier was headed to Tampa Bay to spend Christmas with her husband. She said as the plane lowered all she could see were the flashing lights of emergency vehicles on the ground.

"We saw all those emergency trucks running after us and I was scared to death," said Poirier."People were starting to talk and to panic because we didn't know what was happening. My heart was beating a lot. And after that the pilot said it was because some smoke was coming out of the cockpit."

"I'm glad we're alive," she said.

One of the pilots of the plane told CBC News what likely happened was that fluid used to defrost the plane got sucked into the engine intake, creating the smoke. He said there was so much smoke it began to fill the cockpit and the pilots had to put on emergency masks.

Passengers are now trying to re-book their flights at the Ottawa airport.