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Georgetown professor tweets selfie wearing oxygen mask on diverted flight

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  • United Flight 3759 from Washington DC to Boston was diverted this morning after smoke started to fill the cabin
  • Passenger Shashi Bellamkonda posted pictures on Twitter from inside the cabin and after the safe landing in Delaware

By Ashley Collman

PUBLISHED: 15:39 EST, 29 January 2014 | UPDATED: 16:04 EST, 29 January 2014

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A morning flight from Washington, DC to Boston had to make an emergency landing in Delaware, but one passenger was so calm he even took a selfie with his seat mate.

Shashi Bellamkonda, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, was heading to Boston on business Wednesday morning when smoke started coming out of the cabin's vents.

He told MailOnline that it was midway through the flight when the oxygen masks dropped, but most of the passengers didn't even put them on until instructed by the crew.

One last snap: Georgetown professor Sashi Bellamkonda (left) took this picture as his flight from Washington DC to Boston had to make an emergency landing this morning

One last snap: Georgetown professor Sashi Bellamkonda (left) took this picture as his flight from Washington DC to Boston had to make an emergency landing this morning

Soon after, the pilot came over the intercom to announce that they would not make it to Boston, and would need to make an emergency landing because air pressure had dropped.

He said the atmosphere in the cabin remained calm, with passengers joking and taking pictures which she says is a testament to 'the period we live in'.

There was a little bit of stress over whether they would be a water landing, but luckily the pilot was able to set down at a small airport in Wilmington, Delaware.

Once safely out of the plane, the passengers had to suffer for a while in the bitter cold on the tarmac until the airport could dispatch buses to bring them inside to the terminal.

Safe but cold! The flight made a safe landing at a small airport in Wilmington, Delaware but the passengers had to wait for a while in the bitter cold for a bus to take them to the terminal

Safe but cold! The flight made a safe landing at a small airport in Wilmington, Delaware but the passengers had to wait for a while in the bitter cold for a bus to take them to the terminal

And it wasn't until mid-afternoon that another plane was brought in to take them on to their destination in Boston.

United Airline spokesman Luke Punzenberger issued a statement following the emergency landing.

'The Mesa Air flight, operating as United Express, landed safely in Delaware and we are working to get our customers to their final destinations as quickly as possible. The flight crew diverted the plane after a report of smoke in the cabin,' Mr Punzenberger said.

There were 58 people on board in addition to 4 crew members.

But Bellamkonda said he was happy with the way the situation played out, and is especially thankful to the pilot for a safe landing and to the small airport's hospitality. 

He says the airport even bought pizzas for the passengers to eat since they didn't have any food vendors. 

Limbo: United Airlines brought in another plane to take the flight to Boston around 2pm on Wednesday. In the hours between, the airport provided free pizza to the stranded passengers

Limbo: United Airlines brought in another plane to take the flight to Boston around 2pm on Wednesday. In the hours between, the airport provided free pizza to the stranded passengers

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