It’s a flight they’ll never forget, even though passengers say it didn’t last very long.

At 6:35 a.m. the air traffic control tower at Ottawa International Airport received a call from Sunwing flight 326.

The pilot called “mayday” three times.

“The smoke started filling the cabin of the plane, the pilot came on board and said listen we need to make an emergency landing,” says passenger Andre Desjardins.

The flight carrying 179 passengers and 8 crew members was heading to Cuba from Ottawa before it had to make an emergency landing just after take-off.

The pilot indicated the smoke in the cabin could have come from de-ice fluid.

“It looked like dry ice to be honest with you. It looked like something out of a smoke show. It didn't smell like fire,” says passenger Cheryl Barnett.

Sunwing later released this statement:

Sunwing Airlines confirms that its flight 326 en route from Ottawa International Airport to Varadero, Cuba departed at 6:32 am. Approximately 5 minutes after take-off, the aircraft interior filled with vapour from glycol (de-icing fluid) that entered the aircraft through the auxiliary power unit (APU) vent.

The captain made the decision to return to the Ottawa airport and the aircraft landed without incident. As the vapour had dissipated by that point, the aircraft returned to the gate where all of the passengers and crew disembarked.

At this time, investigations are ongoing to determine how the glycol entered the aircraft through the APU vent.

“I'm just very glad we're standing on the ground right now,” says Cheryl Barnett.

Sunwing booked another flight to Cuba for the passengers with a scheduled departure of 12:30pm.

With a report from CTV’s John Hua