A Denver-bound Delta Airlines flight from Atlanta was diverted to Tulsa Saturday after at least a dozen passengers became ill due to carbon monoxide ingestion, KJRH (Tulsa) is reporting.
At about 3:00 p.m. Central Time on Saturday, between 12 and 15 passengers on Delta flight 1817 began complaining of headache, nausea, and dizziness — sure signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. The captain made the decision to land the plane, and at about 3:30 p.m., the aircraft was on the ground in Tulsa.
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Dylan Doyle, who was on his way to Denver to see his girlfriend, was one of the 150 or so passengers on the flight (Doyle didn’t get sick). He described how his fellow passengers, on seeing other passengers get sick, started to freak out.
“As people started seeing other people freaking out everybody just kind of went into a panic.”
Once on the ground in Tulsa, emergency crews began treating the sickened passengers. Tulsa Fire Captain Stan May said that, once the sickened passengers got some fresh air and some oxygen from emergency medical personnel, they improved immediately.
“We arrived, assisted with evaluating 12 patients who had complained of or were showing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning,”
Still, they were taken to an area hospital to be evaluated, just to be on the safe side. They were all found to have had elevated carbon monoxide levels in the blood. Another passenger was also treated for hypertension.
While glad that his fellow passengers got the treatment they needed, Doyle is not at all pleased with how Delta handled the passengers who weren’t sick. They were all evacuated from the plane and forced to wait in the Tulsa airport for several hours, without their luggage and with no information about what was going to happen next.
“So everyone is just sitting here quarantined and they’re not telling us anything and it’s getting to the point where people, tensions are running high.”
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By late Saturday night — several hours after having been diverted — Doyle and his fellow passengers were put on another flight to Denver. And although he was glad to be allowed to finally leave, Doyle is not impressed with the way Delta handled the situation.
“It’s just one of those situations where it just kind of reeks of them trying to cover their own behind, like a lawsuit or something.”
KWTV (Oklahoma City) reports that Tulsa fire crews inspected the aircraft and weren’t able to detect elevated carbon monoxide levels. The plane will be taken to a Delta maintenance facility where it can be further inspected by aircraft technicians.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that, among other sources, can be produced by the burning of fossil fuels (such as jet fuel, or gasoline in your car). It can be toxic to humans in concentrations as low as 35 parts per million.
This is not the first time that a passenger flight has been diverted due to passengers possibly getting sick from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Back in June 2015, according to the L.A. Times, a Denver-bound flight from Los Angeles was diverted to Grand Junction, Colorado, after passengers began showing signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. At least one passenger vomited, and several others reported headaches, nausea and dizziness. All of the sick passengers were treated and quickly recovered, and the remaining passengers were put on another plane to their destination.
In a statement, Delta Airlines said the safety and security of its passengers and crew are its top priority.
[Image via Shutterstock/Markus Mainka]