Mystery illness forces LA flight to return to Heathrow

Mystery illness forces LA flight to return to Heathrow

Image credit: Robert Neal /

A London to Los Angeles flight returned to Heathrow after an airborne emergency which reportedly saw several crew and passengers affected by a mystery illness.

The American Airlines Boeing 777 with 188 passengers and crew was southwest of Iceland when the decision was taken to divert the aircraft back to Heathrow, rather than landing at Keflavik.

One member of the cabin crew fainted and five others complained of feeling unwell as did up to three passengers.

Alan Gray, 41, a passenger on the flight said he saw a flight attendant collapse.

“It was at that point the captain said he was turning the plane around. He said he wasn't willing to take the risk to keep going and hadn't got the crew to do it,” he told Mail Online.

On landing at Heathrow, luggage was taken away for inspection without explanation.

An American Airlines spokesman said the decision to return to London, which was more than 1,000 miles away, rather than land in Iceland was taken by the cabin crew.

The aircraft landed back at Heathrow where passengers were evaluated by paramedics. None required additional medical help.

Luggage has been returned to the passengers, the airlne spokesman added. 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.


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