Mystery illness forces American Airlines flight to return to Heathrow

Mystery illness forces American Airlines flight to return to Heathrow

A mystery illness caused an American Airlines plane travelling from London Heathrow to Los Angeles to turn around just hours into the flight.

Flight AA109 was just passing Iceland on Wednesday afternoon when the pilot made the decision to turn the aircraft around. Mashable reports that several members of the crew and a few passengers fell ill, with one flight attendant even collapsing in the aisle.

Passenger Lee Gunn, who tweeted live updates of the events onboard, told The Mirror upon landing that “about 2.5 hours into the flight as we were passing Iceland, we had a Tannoy announcement asking for any doctors, nurses or medical professionals onboard to report to the boarding doors to assist with unwell passengers. It was also reported that seven of the crew had fallen ill along with many passengers.”

Another passenger, Alan Gray, told the Daily Mail: “One of the flight attendants was walking down the aisle when she collapsed. Then up to six other cabin crew members said they felt light-headed and as though they were going to faint.”

Gray went on to say that after cabin crew fell ill, the captain announced he was turning the plane around and that he “wasn’t willing to take the risk to keep going and hadn’t got the crew to do it.”

After returning to Heathrow, ambulances and police cars greeted the aircraft though no one was allowed to disembark while professionals tested for “elevated levels of substances.” Luggage was also taken for tests by airport authorities.

An aviation expert told Mail Online that air quality onboard, possibly due to faulty equipment, may have been the cause of the illness. American Airlines, however, has not confirmed the cause, but did say that “paramedics evaluated passengers and crew. None requested further medical attention.”

The London Ambulance service confirmed it had checked six patients at Heathrow and they were discharged at the scene.

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