UK: Flight makes emergency landing as 2 pilots fall ill after smelling 'foul odour' in cockpit

The captain and co-pilot appeared to have inhaled 'toxic chemicals', according to reports


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File photo used for illustrative purposes
File photo used for illustrative purposes

Published: Fri 20 Oct 2023, 12:49 PM

A British Airways flight had to make an emergency landing and its two pilots were rushed to the hospital after breathing in a "foul odour" and fell ill. On Thursday morning, at 30,000ft in the air, the captain and co-pilot wore their oxygen masks after reporting a stench in the cockpit, Daily Mail reported.

The pilots soon got in touch with the ground staff and made the emergency landing at Heathrow Airport from where they were taken to the hospital.

The captain and co-pilot, which took off from New Castle, appeared to have inhaled toxic chemicals, according to reports.

"The immediate concern is obviously for the two pilots," The Sun quoted a source as saying, adding that everyone was worried about what could have happened if the two cockpit crew were intoxicated while still at the controls of a crowded jet at that altitude.

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“Investigations have started into this alarming incident,” the report added.

The BA Shuttle 13C, carrying 180 passengers, took off at 7.41am and took 91 minutes to arrive at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 at 9:14 a.m., which was one hour and 54 minutes later than its planned touchdown.

The London Ambulance Service, pressed into action after the incident, said they treated two patients at the scene for smoke inhalation and took them to a local hospital.


Reacting to the incident, the airline said the safety of passengers and colleagues was its priority and standard procedures were followed.

“The flight landed safely, and customers disembarked normally following a minor technical issue with the aircraft,” The Sun quoted British Airways as saying.

It further reported this wasn't the first time a British Airways flight was hit by a "toxic fume". In 2019, according to the same report, the UK national career reported as many as 291 such events

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