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Boeing 787 in test flight drama

An investigation is under way after a Boeing 787 jet on a test flight over Texas made an emergency landing when smoke was detected in the main cabin.

The jet landed safely in Laredo and the crew was evacuated, Boeing spokeswoman Loretta Gunter said.

The smoke appeared in the rear cabin of the plane, furthest from the cockpit, said Lynn Lunsford, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

"The pilot landed and advised he was declaring an emergency," said Mr Lunsford, who added that the airport fire service was called to the scene. He said the FAA would look into the incident.

Boeing said one person received a minor injury as the crew of 30 to 40 people were being evacuated down exit slides.

The 787 is made of composite material designed to make it lighter and more fuel-efficient, but Boeing has run into a series of delays in developing the big, two-aisle passenger plane.

Boeing has said it will deliver the first production models of the 787 to Japan's All Nippon Airways in the middle of the first quarter of next year - about three years behind schedule.

Development of the aircraft has been pushed back several times by snags including availability of Rolls-Royce engines and supplier workmanship issues. The company halted test flights last summer after finding that some parts in the tail were not properly installed.

It is unclear whether the latest incident will add to the delays.

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