US Airways Crew Suffers Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

More comforting news from the airline industry: Five crew members were taken to the hospital after complaining of an illness caused by a mysterious smell on US Airways Flight 2022 from Washington to Boston. The smell turned out to be carbon monoxide-filled fumes from a generator that drives the jet’s air conditioning.

After crew members complained of the fumes, the flight turned around and landed in Washington. They switched planes and continued on to Boston, but the crew members who had been exposed to the fumes started getting sick.

They were treated with oxygen after complaining of headaches and nausea, said Lt. Christopher Stratton of Boston Emergency Medical Services. Two showed evidence of exposure to carbon monoxide, but the injuries were not life-threatening, he said.

Are we sure they didn’t just all have the fish?

US Airways crew falls ill on Boston flight


Edit Your Comment

  1. Zelle999 says:

    Holy crap, that’s scary. What if that happened on a Trans-Atlantic flight or something where they couldn’t switch planes that easily? Yikes.

  2. Zgeg says:

    That’s not such a big deal.. I’ve seen enough movies to know that there is always at least one person on board who can land a plane if the crew gets sick..

  3. protest says:


    yeah, that thought is freaking me out right now.

  4. AD8BC says:

    @Zelle999: Simple. Open the window and let the fumes out.

  5. saltmine says:

    @Zelle999: Well, the problem started close enough after takeoff that the plane just had to turn around. I think the likelihood of this happening in the middle of the ocean isn’t likely – the fumes would make it to the cabin before the plane reached the “point of no return.”

    Still very unnerving, though.

  6. El_Guapo says:

    Capt. Oveur: Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?

  7. Jordan Lund says:

    “The smell turned out to be carbon monoxide-filled fumes…”

    Uh, carbon monoxide has no odor…

  8. ChChChacos says:

    Doesn’t matter if the crew is sick when it’s carbon monoxide, the passengers can get sick too. Then who will fly? I’m currently an aviation student with flight experience, I saw in a recent video of a person flying in the pattern (around the airport to land) that had a small headache on takeoff due to carbon monoxide, by the time he turned left for “crosswind” to turn the plane around and land it, he was already experiencing a headache so painful he could barely fly the plane. Within a matter of less than a minute this kind of thing can get to you that quickly. Make sure you have oxygen around, even then, you might not be able to get to it in time.. but it’s just the same as to someone who was to leave the car running in a need to get those fumes out.

  9. DarthSensei says:

    Looks like they picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.

  10. ret3 says:

    @Jordan Lund:
    I think the key is “carbon monoxide-filled fumes,” which I take to mean fumes primarily composed of CO, but with other (presumably smelly) stuff in there, too.

  11. viriiman says:

    (Forgive me for these two, but I just have to)

    Rumack: What was it we had for dinner tonight?
    Elaine Dickinson: Well, we had a choice of steak or fish.
    Rumack: Yes, yes, I remember, I had lasagna.

    Rumack: The survival of everyone on board depends on just one thing: finding someone on board who can not only fly this plane, but who didn’t have fish for dinner.

  12. BloggyMcBlogBlog says:

    @viriiman: And don’t call me Shirley.

  13. uricmu says:

    @ChChChacos: Isn’t there a CO monitor in the cabin? (to check for burning, for example?). And don’t the pilots have access to oxygen masks so they can fly in a fire?

  14. diggity says:

    @Zgeg: If not, there’s always Otto. Just find a cute flight attendant to blow him up.

  15. MENDOZA!!!!! says:

    @Zgeg: as long as he doesn’t have a drinking problem [tosses glass of OJ onto face]

  16. Crim Law Geek says:

    The Civil Air Patrol flies their planes with a CO detector in the cabin at all time. I always figured it was an FAA requirement, I’m surprised they didn’t have any in the cabin of a commercial jet (the damn things cost $10!).

  17. Meg Marco says:

    @ret3: Yes, that’s the general idea.

  18. Zgeg says:

    Well as long as we are going there…

    “Jive ass dude don’t got no brains anyhow! Hmmph!”

  19. FLConsumer says:

    +1 for the Airplane reference

    @uricmu: I’ve never flown without a CO detector in the cockpit when I’ve been behind the yoke, guess things are different for commercial regs. ThirdGen’s right, you can get a cheap chemical card CO detector for $10, ‘though I would hope that there’d be multiple electronic sensors on a modern airline.

    I don’t know much about the Airbus A319 planes (such as the one involved in this incident). Where exactly is the APU mounted in this aircraft and where is it normally supposed to exhaust to? I’m just trying to figure out how a screwup like this happens considering the design & over-engineering that goes into these birds.

  20. Archteryx says:

    This sort of thing can indeed bring a plane down, especially if it spreads through the cabin.

    It isn’t quite the same situation, but Helios Flight 522 crashed just a few months ago in Athens when the cabin failed to pressurize due to pilot error. By the time anyone realized what was happening, it was too late; only one crew member stayed conscious long enough to get his pony-bottle air supply, and that petered out in a matter of minutes. The plane crashed shortly thereafter when it ran out of fuel; nearly everyone on board was dead of exposure or hypoxia by then, though.

    If there’s a major CO leak on board and it wasn’t caught before the plane was airborne, the same thing likely would happen. End result: everyone on that plane dies. It’s extremely fortunate that they caught it when they did.

  21. BigNutty says:

    And that person that can take over and land the plane always mentions he has had lots of practice: on the game FLIGHT SIMULATOR!

  22. bvita says:

    CO detectors are fairly common in small piston aircraft, particually those where the engine is ahead of you.. I would think that there would be little need for them in a jet where the engines are significantly behind you with at 500MPH wind running over them at flight speed.

    I would think that this would be more of a freak incident.

  23. bombaxstar says:

    Airplane! is definetly my favorite movie so I was pretty excited about that reference.