An American Airlines fight bound for Los Angeles (carrying 188 people) was forced to return to London's Heathrow Airport on Wednesday, after flight attendants and crew members fell ill mid-flight. Flight AA109 was close to Keflavik, a town in southwest Iceland, when crew felt mystery illness: they declared a medical emergency and decided to head back to London. One flight attendant "literally just fainted... just fell forward, put her hand out and hit the floor," said passenger Kris Evans. "It was crazy."
Paramedics examined, then discharged, six patients who complained of feeling unwell, according to the London Ambulance Service. One member of the Boeing 777's cabin crew fainted and five others complained of feeling unwell. With the aircraft, Flight 109, in the air over southwest Iceland, the captain made the decision to return to Heathrow. The Boeing 777, which took off at 12:05 p.m., landed safely in London about five hours later, where it was met by ambulances, American Airlines said.
The passengers' luggage was briefly taken away for inspection before being returned to them."About 2.5 hours into the flight just as we were passing Iceland we had a Tannoy announcement asking for any doctors, nurses or medical professionals on board to report to the boarding doors to assist with unwell passengers," told passenger Lee Gunn. "The lights then came on in the cabin and there was lots of commotion". "Eventually, when we did dock, there was only one person who came on and he was monitoring the air," said one of the passengers Alan Gray. "Then the paramedics were allowed on board to treat those who were ill and everybody was let off."
The London Fire Brigade said that crews investigating the plane found no evidence of hazardous substances, while the London Ambulance Service said the six patients who complained of feeling unwell were examined, then discharged. It was unclear what caused the mystery illnesses. There were reports that those who fell ill complained of a loss of equilibrium. This would suggest problems with cabin pressure, although normally such problems occur during take-off and landing. American Airlines added that the aircraft was being inspected by maintenance engineers.