Sri Lankan Airlines
The flight was eventually rescheduled for Tuesday from Melbourne to Colombo LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP News

A flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Melbourne after smoke started filling the cabin on Monday (Feb. 12).

Sri Lanka Airlines Flight UL605 took off from Melbourne Airport shortly after 6:30 PM on Monday. However, within half an hour of take-off, the emergency squawk code of 7700 was sounded on the plane.

The said emergency call meant the flight immediately became the most tracked flight, with nearly 10,000 people across the globe tracking it on

The cabin crew said the emergency was a result of smoke in the cockpit. Passengers smelled and saw smoke in the cabin and coming from the cockpit, leading to an announcement from the captain, who declared they would have to circle back to Melbourne, according to reports in the local media.

After circling for some time the aircraft finally landed safely at Tullamarine at 7:20 PM. A Melbourne Airport spokesperson said the crew on board the Airbus A330-300 flight requested a return to the airport shortly after its departure.

"In line with Melbourne Airport procedures, a local standby was declared, with emergency services responding as a precaution. The aircraft landed safely and without incident. Passengers disembarked normally," a statement from the airport said.

Sri Lankan Airlines, meanwhile, said they have since identified the issue to be a "technical" one. "All passengers on-board disembarked safely. A team of technicians is currently assessing the aircraft and providing technical support," the airline said in a statement.

Aviation YouTuber Dennis Bunnik praised the way the Sri Lankan Airlines flight's crew handled the in air emergency.

"All safe and sound. 30 minutes out of MEL on the way to Sri Lanka we turned around. Circled for a while and landed with full activation of emergency services. We landed safely. The crew handled it very well. Everybody is calm on board.

"When (sic) got to gate the captain advised there was an issue with the aircon," Bunnik wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

It has also been reported that Sri Lankan Airlines provided the passengers with hotel accommodations and the flight was rescheduled for Tuesday.

There have been quite a few safety-related incidents reported in the airline industry in recent days. Earlier this month, a flight carrying 179 passengers swerved off the runway before re-entering the same airstrip to taxi to the gate in Vilnius, Lithuania.

An easyJet flight had a precariously close call as it was "seconds away" from crashing into Lake Geneva on November 5, 2023. Meanwhile, a United Airlines flight made an emergency landing on Jan. 31 after one of its engines shut down mid-air.