A transatlantic flight has been forced to divert to Dublin Airport this afternoon after a number of cabin crew and passengers were reportedly affected by fumes from a spillage of a cleaning solution.
It’s understood that as many as 12 people on board complained of feeling unwell while two flight attendants are believed to have lost consciousness briefly.
The affected passengers complained of of suffering from ‘burning eyes’ and ‘itchy skin’ following the incident which occurred in a toilet.
American Airlines flight AA-729 was travelling from London, England to Philadelphia in the US at the time.
The Airbus A330-300 jet, with 287 passengers and a crew of 12 on board, was about 250 kilometres southwest of Valentia in Co Kerry when crew made contact with air traffic controllers at around 12.20pm to advised them of their emergency.
At the time, the pilots had been in contact with controllers at the Irish Aviation Authority’s North Atlantic Communications Centre at Ballygirreen in Co Clare. The crew advised controllers of the problem on board and that they wished to divert.
The crew reported that the cause of the diversion was a leaking bottle of an “ammonium based cleaning product” that had been left in a lavatory. The crew also requested that paramedics be available to meet the aircraft on arrival at Dublin.
The pilots told controllers that paramedics could plan on dealing with “at least a dozen” people who had been affected.
The flight was cleared to descend and divert to Dublin Airport where airport fire and medical crews had been placed on standby. National Ambulance Service resources were also dispatched to the airport.
A spokesperson for American Airlines said: "Flight 729 from London Heathrow to Philadelphia diverted to Dublin due to an odour caused by a spilled cleaning solution. The flight landed safely in Dublin and taxied to the gate. Medical personnel have met the aircraft to evaluate any crew members or passengers who may need additional assistance," the airline added.
Two flight attendants and one passenger were removed to hospital for treatment.
Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) spokesperson Siobhán O’Donnell said: “American Airlines flight AA729 on route from London Heathrow to Philadelphia was diverted into Dublin Airport for a medical emergency. The aircraft landed safely at approx. 13.20.
As per standard operating procedures there was a full turn out of Dublin Airport’s emergency fire services,” Ms O’Donnell added.
A second American Airlines flight is currently diverting into Dublin with another medical emergency.
Flight AA-787 was en route from Paris to North Carolina in the US when the crew turned around off the Kerry coast.