There was something in the air on a British Airways flight–literally.
In a report recently leaked, an October 25th British Airways flight from San Francisco to London made an emergency landing in Vancouver after the cabin crew began exhibiting bizarre symptoms.
According to the Mirror, these symptoms included:
Crew said they “lost” members who had said they were going to the toilet and ended up on another part of the plane , without any recollection of how they got there.
Others were seen stuffing their faces with food while wearing oxygen masks.
At least one staff member was spotted curled into a ball with a blanket over his head.
The article mentions that the cause is suspected to be toxic fumes, but they do not know for sure.
According to the Times gated article:
About 40 minutes after take-off, while the airliner was over Canada, crew detected a strong noxious smell similar to burning plastic and the flight was diverted to Vancouver. The captain declared an emergency, telling air traffic control that the problem was “toxic gas-type fumes”. After the aircraft landed safely, all the flight attendants and the three pilots were taken to hospital.
BA later described the incident as an “odour event”, prompting claims by the Unite union that it was downplaying the health risks of potentially toxic fumes in aircraft cabins.
Passengers were also affected by the odor. The Times article suggests the fumes might have come from a leaky seal that allowed heated oil fumes into the plane.
This article is incredibly concerning. The effects sounded extremely serious, and they were lucky they were over land when this occurred and were able to make an emergency landing.
If another emergency had occurred on board during this ordeal, I’m not sure the crew would have been able to respond to it properly.
It also sounds as if some of the crew is still affected by this, health-wise. I hope they have no long-term effects from this, and that they recover soon.