NYC-bound flight turns back to Canada after fire erupts in the cockpit, frantic pilot heard radioing for help

An Endeavor Air flight declared emergency shortly after take off from Toronto after a windshield electrical heater began emitting sparks, flame

A New York City-bound flight was forced to turn around shortly after take off in Canada after a fire erupted in the cockpit, according to reports. 

The incident happened aboard an Endeavor Air regional jet shortly after take off from Toronto Pearson International Airport at 6:52 a.m. on Feb. 3 en route to John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York.

During the climb out of Toronto, the pilot declared "mayday," reported an electrical fire in the cockpit and requested an immediate return to the airport of departure. The flight crew reported that it appeared like the windshield heater had sparked up on the captain’s side and requested emergency trucks to meet them on the ground. The plane landed on the runway and stopped for inspection.  

"Hey Toronto departure! Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!" the pilot told an air traffic controller, according to audio from the flight recently shared to YouTube.


Flight landing at Toronto airport

An Air Canada airplane flies in front of the downtown skyline and CN Tower as it lands at Pearson International Airport on Dec. 10, 2023, in Toronto, Canada. An Endeavor Air flight made an emergency landing in Toronto on Feb. 3. (Gary Hershorn/Getty Images / Getty Images)

"This is Endeavor 4826, declaring an emergency. Just had a fire, a spark-up, an electrical fire, up in the cockpit. Looks like it’s out currently," the pilot said more calmly. "Requesting return back to Toronto immediately."

The pilot said the plane had about 9,000 pounds of fuel and 74 souls on board. Upon his descent back down, the pilot told air traffic control, "It appears the fire is out. We had a spark up and flare up on our windshield it looks like. Fire does appear to be out. We should be able to exit the runway, but we’ll have fire trucks take us all the way to the gate." 

The pilot later followed up and said, "We did have an electrical fire. Looks like the windshield heater sparked. Up. That fire is out now. We haven’t canceled the emergency yet." 

"We are not an overweight landing," he added. "We should be able to exit the runway." 

The tower cleared the pilot to land and patched the pilot to speak to the emergency vehicle on the ground. 

"No medicals, brakes are on, engines are at idle and radar is off. The electrical fire was on the captain’s side windshield here. We did not suspect there was anything on the outside. It went out within approximately 30 seconds. Don’t suspect any aircraft damage, but if you guys wanna take a look and see," he said, according to the audio shared by the "You can see ATC" account. 

Toronto airport terminal

People walk through Terminal 1 at Pearson International Airport on Feb. 6, 2024. (Gary Hershorn/Getty Images / Getty Images)

The ground vehicle said two firefighters would be on the ground to meet the plane upon landing. 


The Transportation Safety Board of Canada confirmed details to Fox News Digital, saying the incident was marked as a Class 5 investigation, meaning i did not warrant a full probe, but the incident was documented and could be used for statical reporting or training purposes. 

Planes parked at Toronto airport

A person watches an Air Canada airplane being towed away from a gate at Terminal 1 at Pearson International Airport on Feb. 6, 2024, in Toronto, Canada. (Gary Hershorn/Getty Images / Getty Images)

"N320PQ, an Endeavor Air, Bombardier CL-600-2D24, operating as flight EDV4826, departed Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport (CYYZ), ON, on a flight to John F. Kennedy International Airport (KJFK), NY, and was climbing though 8,000 feet when the flight crew noticed a burnt electrical smell in the cockpit," the Transportation Safety Board of Canada occurrence summary said. 


"The flight crew were checking the cockpit when the captain's side windshield electrical heater control unit began to emit sparks/flames. The flight crew donned oxygen masks, declared an emergency and requested a return to CYYZ," the summary added. "The flight crew turned off the windshield heat and the sparks/flames stopped. The flight crew conducted a normal approach and landed without further incident. Maintenance found arcing on the left windshield power terminal block into the inner surface of the windshield and no damage to the wires. The windshield will be replaced." 

Endeavor Air is a subsidiary of Delta Airlines. "The quick and collected actions of the Endeavor Air flight deck crew demonstrate how safety is engrained in all that we do. We apologize to our customers for the delay in their travel plans on Feb. 3," a Delta Air Lines spokesperson said in a statement to Fox News Digital.