Second American Airlines Flight Grounded in Two Days with Mystery Illness

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Reprinted from dailymail.co.uk. By Anton Nilsson and Lydia Willgress.

For the second time in two days, an American Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing Friday after passengers and crew fell ill.

Flight 904, which was left Rio de Janeiro at 10.16pm Thursday heading for Miami, was diverted to Brasilia after four people—including three members of staff—complained of lightheadedness, the airline confirmed in a statement to Daily Mail Online.

‘The aircraft landed safely at Brasilia at 12.37am and was met by paramedics who evaluated the passenger and crew members. None requested further medical attention,’ an American Airlines spokesperson said.

‘Our maintenance team is currently inspecting the aircraft and performing a thorough maintenance check.’

The emergency landing happened the day after an American Airlines flight to Los Angeles was forced to return to London’s Heathrow Airport after around 15 people on board fell ill.

One passenger on the Miami-bound flight told Daily Mail Online she saw people ‘pass out’ from the mystery illness before the plane landed.

The Miami-bound Boeing 777, which carried 203 passengers and 14 crew members, is thought to be the same model as the one that was forced to divert back to London Heathrow following a ‘medical emergency’ on Wednesday.

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2 Dead in Small Plane Crash Near Santa Rosa

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Reprinted from nbcbayarea.com. By Kristofer Noceda and Cheryl Hurd.

Two people died after a small plane they were in crashed late Thursday near Santa Rosa, officials said. The plane, a single-engine Piper PA-24, had departed from Palm Springs for Santa Rosa, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.

The plane crashed on final approach to Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport, according to Gregor. The crash was reported around 7 p.m. in the area of Wood Road and Wood Ranch Road in unincorporated Santa Rosa, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.

“There was no fire, but a little bit of smoke coming off of the rear of the airplane, or what was left of it anyway,” Morris said. Morris said he did not notice anything unusual around the time of the crash.

The area where the plane crashed is somewhat rural and about two miles south of the Charles M. Schulz airport in Santa Rosa. The pilot and passenger were pronounced deceased at the scene, according to the sheriff’s office.

It was not immediately known what caused the plane to crash. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the incident.

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One Person Killed In Greene County Plane Crash

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Reprinted from 10tv.com.

At least one person was killed in a plane crash in Greene County Tuesday night.

WHIO reports the small plane crashed into a hillside at the Greene County Regional Airport in Xenia around 6 p.m.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration Registry, the plane is a fixed wing, single-engine Cirrus SR22T owned by Weaver Aircraft LLC, of Carmel, Indiana.

A woman driving home from work said she looked up and saw the single-engine plane “looking right back at her in the windshield.” Another witness said the plane was flying at an extremely low altitude before crashing.

“He was obviously coming in to descend. You could hear that, but then his engines revved up so loud. Moments later, there was no more sound, then a loud boom. I mean ten seconds after that loud fire up and that was about it.”

Federal investigators with the FAA are also on the scene, combing through the wreckage near the east end of the runway. The National Transportation Safety Board will be picking up the investigation Wednesday morning.

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United Plane Slides Off Runway at O’Hare

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Reprinted from abc7chicago.com.

A United plane slid off the runway at O’Hare International Airport upon landing. Some travelers were delayed when they missed connections but there are no injuries.

United Airlines says the Boeing 737 was carrying 179 passengers and six crew members from San Francisco to Chicago. Passengers said most of the window shades were down during landing and they didn’t realize something was wrong until the pilot made an announcement.

“They didn’t say anything before, it felt like a totally normal landing, and then after we landed they said, oh, we had some brake failure,” said Kech Carera.

“I didn’t know if it was the brakes or not, but it felt like - there were just a couple little bumps and that was it,” said Todd White.

Speaking with ABC7 Eyewitness News, Dodge said the landing was very smooth but upon touching down the plane simply did not slow. Instead it began sliding and continued off the runway.

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Illness That Diverted American Airlines Flight Remains a Mystery

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Reprinted from NYT.com. By Dan Bilefsky and Nicola Clark.

American Airlines Flight 109, traveling to Los Angeles from London, was more than two hours into its journey and close to Keflavik, Iceland, when several passengers and crew members suddenly and mysteriously became ill. Those aboard were startled, news reports said, and the pilot decided to fly back to London.

The plane landed safely. But on Thursday, the mystery of what happened on the plane, which captured headlines in Britain and beyond, remained unclear. The Daily Telegraph in Britain, citing a passenger on the flight, reported that one crew member had fainted.

American Airlines said in an emailed statement that two passengers and several flight attendants had complained of lightheadedness during the flight on Wednesday, prompting the captain to return to Heathrow Airport near London. It said there were 172 passengers and 16 crew members on the Boeing 777, which landed at 5:05 p.m. News reports said the plane had been met by paramedics, police cars and firefighters.

Although it remained unclear what had caused people on board to become ill, dizziness and loss of consciousness are among a range of symptoms that have been associated in the past with jet engine fumes leaking into the cabin.

Modern commercial jets are designed to siphon heated air, drawn from the engines, for use in cabin pressurization and air-conditioning systems. Occasionally, that air can become contaminated with traces of engine oil or hydraulic fluid, provoking acute symptoms, sometimes called aerotoxic syndrome, that later subside.

Airlines and regulators closely monitor such risks, but some pilots’ and flight attendants’ unions worry about the health risks of repeated exposure to toxic substances.

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American Airlines flight AA109 turns back over mystery illness

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Reprinted from theweek.co.uk. By Robyn Beck.

An American Airlines plane on its way from London to Los Angeles has been forced to turn back after passengers and crew were struck down with a mysterious illness.

Flight AA109 was close to Keflavik, in south-west Iceland, when it was diverted back to Heathrow Airport yesterday afternoon.

One flight attendant apparently fainted and the plane was met by ambulances and fire crews when it landed, reported the Evening Standard.

A spokesman for American Airlines told the newspaper that the plane had turned back because of a “medical emergency” and the diversion was not security related.

“We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience to their travel plans,” he said.

London Ambulance Service confirmed it had attended an “incident” at the airport and had checked six patients who were feeling unwell. No one had to go to hospital.

One passenger, Lee Gunn, told the Daily Mirror: “About two and a half 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.

“The lights then came on in the cabin and there was lots of commotion.

“I’m a bit of a plane geek myself so thought, ‘Here we go, Reykjavik here we come’ but it was announced about 20 minutes after we were going to divert back to [Heathrow].”

He added that seven crew members and “many” passengers had fallen ill in total.

The diversion might have been caused by the air quality being “compromised somehow”, aviation expert and pilot Bruce Rodger told the Daily Mail. Food poisoning was unlikely as the incident had happened in the early stages of the flight, he added.

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AA flight makes emergency landing after severe turbulence injures 7

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Reprinted from rt.com. By Carlos Garcia.

Seven people aboard an American Airlines flight from Miami to Milan were injured when the aircraft encountered severe turbulence and was forced to divert and make an emergency landing in Canada.

American Airlines flight 206 carrying 192 passengers and 11 crew members experienced “severe turbulence” which forced the Boeing 767 to make an emergency landing at St. John’s airport at 9:46pm on Sunday.

Paramedics and up to half a dozen ambulances, along with a fire truck, waited on the tarmac for the flight to land. Four passengers and three flight attendants were rushed to the Health Sciences Centre in St. John’s for further evaluation, the airline said in a statement.

“We are taking care of our passengers and crew, and we are working on next steps to get them safely to their destination,” said a spokesperson for American Airlines said. The airline claims that seat belt light was on when the flight “briefly” encountered turbulence.

The extent of the injuries has not been revealed, but witnesses reported seeing at least three people carried out on stretchers.

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One Allegiant plane had four emergency landings within six weeks

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Reprinted from lasvegassun.com. By William R. Levesque.

Allegiant Air Flight 815 had just departed North Carolina on Dec. 3 with 94 passengers bound for St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport when an alarming gray haze began to fill the cockpit and passenger cabin.

Pilots declared an emergency, telling the tower to notify fire rescue crews “to roll the trucks.” The haze dissipated on landing at Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and the problem was traced to a malfunctioning air-conditioning system.

Mechanics knew the aircraft quite well: This was the fourth emergency landing by the same aircraft in little more than a month.

The emergency landings by the MD-88 — tail number 403NV — occurred from Oct. 25 to Dec. 3 on flights headed to Florida, all after reports of smoke or fumes in the aircraft. Some of the incidents may have been because of the same recurring problem, according to interviews and Federal Aviation Administration records.

The aircraft also made an emergency landing in August due to engine trouble that did not involve a report of smoke.

Industry veterans say such a high number of incidents for one aircraft in such a short period of time is exceptionally rare, and the incidents will undoubtedly raise renewed concern about Allegiant’s maintenance operations.

During an Oct. 25 emergency landing on a flight departing Youngstown, Ohio, for Sanford, outside Orlando, an FAA report filed by Allegiant noted, “Smoke was so thick that the flight attendants in the back of the airplane could not see the front.”

John Cox, a St. Petersburg resident who is a former U.S. Airways pilot and a former safety official at the Air Line Pilots Association, said it is rare to see one plane make so many emergency landings.

“To have one aircraft experience a high number of smoke events, that is very, very unusual,” Cox said. “I have seen smoke or fume events reoccur. But if they had repeated smoke events in a five or six week period, this would be very unusual and would be right at the edge of anything I’ve seen in my career.”

Allegiant has maintained the Las Vegas-based airline has one of the best safety records in the industry. A spokeswoman with the airline said Friday that company officials could not comment because they were busy dealing with a snowstorm in the Eastern United States.

Allegiant, a budget airline with a fleet of more than 80 aircraft, was responsible for about 95 percent of the record 1.6 million passengers who used the St. Pete-Clearwater airport last year, making it a key player in the area’s growing tourism industry.

Allegiant’s chief operating officer Steve Harfst abruptly resigned a week ago after just 13 months on the job. Some analysts suggest the resignation was forced and is a result of highly publicized incidents involving Allegiant aircraft. The airline and Harfst will not comment on such speculation.

Those incidents include an additional five emergency landings by Allegiant aircraft during the last week of 2015.

Allegiant announced late Thursday that it was promoting its senior vice president of planning, Jude Bricker, to COO as Harfst’s replacement.

Chris Moore, chairman of the Teamsters Aviation Mechanics Coalition, discovered the four emergency landings for the one aircraft while taking reports from Allegiant crew members on behalf of the pilots’ union, the Airline Professionals Association Teamsters Local 1224.

The Tampa Bay Times confirmed those four by examining “service difficulty reports,” or SDRs, Allegiant filed with the FAA. And the newspaper discovered the August emergency in those records. It does not appear any passengers or crew were injured in the incidents.

Moore is compiling a report on the airline’s maintenance issues for the Teamsters, which has been at odds with Allegiant management over bitter contract negotiations. The airline has blamed the union for raising unfounded safety concerns as a ploy in negotiations.

Moore said in an interview that the issues with the one aircraft raise serious questions on how well Allegiant maintains its fleet. Moore said the FAA has placed Allegiant under increased scrutiny due to these issues, though the agency won’t confirm that.

“I’m sure the FAA is seeing what we are and asking, ‘What’s going on?’” Moore said.

He said he believed, though he had not been able to confirm, that the four emergencies may have involved a recurring problem that was not properly diagnosed or which recurred after inadequate repairs.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor declined to comment specifically about the aircraft with the multiple problems, though he said the FAA is investigating incidents reported in the media.

According to Moore and FAA records on the aircraft (all flights landed at the city from which they departed), these are the incidents:

• On Oct. 25, Allegiant Flight 607 departed Youngstown for Sanford when the crew smelled smoke at rotation, the moment when an aircraft begins to lift off the runway. Flight attendants then reported smoke coming from a fan that delivered air into the cabin from the plane’s air system. Air-conditioning was turned off and the aircraft safely landed.

• On Oct. 30, Flight 730 had just departed Concord Regional Airport in North Carolina bound for Fort Lauderdale when flight attendants reported smoke in the cabin. Mechanics replaced the oil filter and an O-ring on an auxiliary power unit, and found a leak in the hydraulic system.

• On Nov. 15, shortly after Flight 715 departed Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport in Kentucky for Sanford a restroom smoke detector alarm began sounding. The FAA report said “there was a haze in the cabin with a smoke smell.” The problem was diagnosed as occurring in an air-conditioning system.

• On the Dec. 3 flight to St. Pete-Clearwater, the problem was again tied to the air-conditioning.

• On Aug. 17, the plane suffered engine difficulties at 16,000 feet and made an emergency landing. No report of smoke occurred on that flight, and records do not show where the plane landed, its destination nor city of departure.

FAA records also show the aircraft’s crew on Dec. 15 experienced the smell of evaporating oil in the cockpit, but FAA records indicate the crew did not make an emergency landing for that event.

Cox said airlines usually will take an aircraft out of service after repeated problems to conduct a detailed examination. He said mechanics can sometimes fix a problem on an aircraft only to later discover the real issue has been missed.

Greg Marino is an aviation mechanic with more than three decades of experience who said he quit the airline’s Sanford maintenance operation in October after just two weeks because of what he viewed as Allegiant’s poor maintenance culture. Allegiant disputes his characterization.

Marino said when he worked at US Airways, repeat problems on an aircraft would be quick reason to ground it.

“We wouldn’t have gotten three chances,” Marino said, referring to the four emergency landings in a month. “We may have gotten two, meaning the airplane would have been grounded. This is a clear indication of an experience level that is going to cause a big problem for Allegiant.”

For more information about Friedman | Rubin’s aviation practice and our work representing flight attendants, commercial airline passengers, pilots, plane and helicopter crash victims, visit our website or contact us.

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2 Killed in Utah County Plane Crash Identified

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Reprinted from ksl.com. By Lisa Riley Roche.

Two people died in a plane crash Monday morning, according to Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon.

Police identified the victims as Donald Baker, 59, and Dawn Hunter, 55, of Tucson, Arizona. The husband and wife were returning home after a conference in Park City when the plane caught fire, according to Cannon.

“We had witnesses who saw a plane go down,” he said. “They reported they saw flames and heard a large noise or some kind of crash or explosion” around 10 a.m.

A twin-engine jet capable of carrying as many as 10 people went down about a mile east of state Route 73 in Cedar Fort, about three-quarters of a mile away from the nearest home, he said.

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2 dead in Cedar Fort small plane crash

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Reprinted from kutv.com. By Daryl Lindsey and Larry D. Curtis.

At least two people are dead after a small plane crash in Cedar Fort that happened Monday morning.

According to Sgt. Spencer Cannon with Utah County Sheriff’s Office, a small twin-engine jet crashed into a field near Cedar Fort around 10 a.m. Cannon said there were believed to be two people on board, although police are working to determine if there were others on the plane. Officials said both occupants appeared to have died during the crash.

Witnesses reported hearing a loud boom and seeing an airplane on fire and coming apart, falling to the ground.

Officials said the debris field was spread over an area about a mile long and a quarter mile wide. Investigators are conducting a search of the area to locate any items from the plane or other evidence that might be related to the crash.

Police have determined who owned the plane but have not positively identified the deceased occupants. Because of that, they have not been able to identify family members of the victims before releasing their identities to the media and public.

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Friedman | Rubin serves clients nationally and internationally. We have the aviation law experience and resources to help you win your case. Call toll free 1-888-359-5298 for a free no obligation review of your case. You may also fill out an online consultation form.