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Panic at 30,000ft as BA captain and co-pilot both fall ill in the cockpit after smelling ‘foul odour’


  •  The pair were rushed to hospital after fears of exposure to toxic chemical

A British Airways captain and co-pilot were rushed to hospital after the pair breathed in a ‘foul odour’ and fell ill in the cockpit during a flight to London today.

The Captain and First Officer of a BA flight were forced to don oxygen masks after reporting the stench, while at 30,000ft in the air on Thursday morning.

After getting in contact with emergency services on the ground, the packed plane landed at Heathrow airport, after its take-off from Newcastle.  

The pair were rushed to hospital after ‘keeling over’ amid fears that they may have been exposed to toxic chemicals. 

Ambulances and fire services scrambled to BA’s Crew Report Centre, where the two pilots were initially assessed after suffering ‘smoke inhalation’ in the dramatic cockpit incident. 

The Captain and First Officer of a British Airways flight resorted to putting on oxygen masks after reporting a 'foul' stench, while still at 30,000ft in the air

The Captain and First Officer of a British Airways flight resorted to putting on oxygen masks after reporting a ‘foul’ stench, while still at 30,000ft in the air

They were then sending them off to hospital for further tests. 

One source told The Sun: ‘This was a shocking incident. The immediate concern is obviously for the two pilots.

‘But also striking is the worry about what could have happened had these two cockpit crew been intoxicated when they were still at the controls of a crowded jet at 25,000ft. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

‘Investigations have started into this alarming incident.’ 

A British Airways spokesperson said: ‘The flight landed safely and customers disembarked normally following a minor technical issue with the aircraft.’ 

The pilots behind the controls of a BA Shuttle 13C landed the Airbus A320 at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 at 9.14am this morning, after taking off from Newcastle at 7.41am. 

The schedule departure for the flight was 6am – one hour and 41 minutes before it actually took off – while it took 91 minutes to land, making it one hour and 54 minutes behind its expected arrival. 

On 9 October, British Airways passengers arriving from Barcelona fell ill as cabin crew donned chemical suits and were ‘held’ on the plane for nearly two ‘traumatic’ hours despite fears of toxic ‘fumes’ swirling around them.

In June this year, a Boeing 777 flight from New York to London had to be cancelled after passengers and crew became alarmed by a pungent smell.

Hundreds of passengers were in their seats on BA flight 176 when it was dramatically diverted back to JFK.

A spokesman for BA described the incident on BA flight 176 as a ‘technical issue’. 

The Unite union told The Sun that BA was attempting to spin the nature of such instances and ‘manipulate’ statistics ‘to downplay how widespread the problem really is in the industry’.

A London Ambulance Service spokesperson said: ‘We were called at 10.39am today (19 October) to reports of an incident at Terminal 5 Heathrow Airport, Hounslow.

‘We sent an ambulance crew, an incident response officer and members of our hazardous area response team (HART) to the scene.

‘We treated two patients at the scene for smoke inhalation and took them to a local hospital.’

British Airways said that the aircraft was met by emergency services on arrival as a precaution, as is ‘standard procedure’. 

​They added: ‘The safety of our customers and colleagues remains our highest priority’. 



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