SkyWest Jet Mystery Illness: Three Passengers Lost Consciousness, 22 Nauseated

SkyWest Jet Mystery Illness: Three Passengers Lost Consciousness, 22 Nauseated
Skywest Fokker 100 Aero Icarus/Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

The cause of illness inside SkyWest airlines flight 5622, which caused three passengers to lose consciousness and 22 others to feel nauseated, remains a mystery. According to preliminary investigations, the twin jet was in proper condition, and there appeared no indication of pressurization inside the plane. The plane performed an emergency landing in Buffalo on Wednesday morning.


Everybody felt ill

Passenger nurse Mary Cunningham said she was short of breath and felt like she was going to faint. She also saw a flight attendant looking like she was about to collapse at any moment. Another female passenger behind the flight attendant lost consciousness.

“All of sudden the woman behind her passed out that was when I said to the flight attendant, I think we should do an emergency landing. She was pretty lethargic. Her color looked awful. I asked for some oxygen for her and once she got oxygen she looked better,” Cunningham told WFSB.

Another passenger, Emily Summers, who was with her baby, said all passengers felt light-headed.

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“We all got light-headed and got really hot and just felt uneasy,” Summers told WIVB.

Fellow passenger Larry Johnson Jr said the feeling was like being inside an elevator. He said the crew announced a problem with pressurization so the plane had to do an emergency landing. However, air vents and oxygen masks did not drop.

“They told us there was a leak in something and the pressurization was cutting short,” he said. “They said if you got lightheaded, that was normal, but that we were going to have to descend and make an emergency landing.”

“None of the air vents were working, and it was hard to breathe. You just felt that your chest was caving in, and then the plane descended so rapidly and that didn’t help. Me and my girlfriend, we were looking at each other. We were like, ‘We don’t feel good.’ Everything was so bright, and when you blinked, you would see dots,” he said.

“It’s a big mystery”

The explanation behind the illness felt by passengers is a big mystery, The Associated Press reported, citing an unnamed aviation official who spoke under the condition of anonymity.

“It’s a big mystery,” the official said. The unnamed source said the reported pressure inside the cabin was equivalent to 8,000 feet, which is normal. Preliminary investigations also fund that there was no foul smell, and none of the doors of the plane were open.

This was supported by the statement from SkyWest Inc spokeswoman Marissa Snow, whose statement said that inspections from aviation experts revealed there was “absolutely nothing wrong with the aircraft.”

William Waldock from the federal Aviation Administration said that suspicion over toxic gas or any other elements can also be dismissed. He said if there was a chemical leak, then more passengers would have been affected. Fire was also dismissed as there were no reports of someone smelling a burning odor from combustion fumes.

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