Cabin crew on a recent charter flight from Cologne, Germany to the Greek island of Rhodes became “overwhelmed” and requested the plane make an emergency diversion after a number of passengers mysteriously collapsed unconscious and fell into the aircraft aisle in quick succession one after the other.
The incident, which occurred on October 1 but has only just come to light, took place on a nearly 14-year-old Boeing 737NG operated by the Maltese charter carrier Correndon Airlines, according to reports collated by the respected Aviation Herald.
The flight departed as normal but it didn’t take long before passengers started to succumb to a mystery illness. Shortly after takeoff, a female passenger went to use the lavatory at the rear of the aircraft but moments later fell out of the lavatory and collapsed on the floor unconscious according to the aviation accident publication.
Witnesses claim the woman was “completely pale, unconscious and trembling from head to foot” as she came out of the lavatory.
Cabin crew immediately responded and provided the woman with medical attention but as they were busy dealing with the first patient, a second passenger who was sitting near the back of the plane started looking pale and then reportedly collapsed and also fell unconscious.
Luckily, a doctor and a nurse were travelling as passengers on the flight and offered to help treat the patients but it wasn’t long before yet another passenger collapsed and partially fell into the aisle.
According to some witnesses, a total of five patients collapsed in quick succession but the airline disputes that figure and says only four passengers felt unwell during flight XR-1050.
At one point, the doctor reportedly asked for a defibrillator but the airline didn’t have one onboard. Luckily, all the passengers started to recover and although the cabin crew asked for the plane to be diverted, the flight continued onto Rhodes as planned.
The airline has disputed a theory that an issue with the cabin air conditioning system may have been the cause of the passengers feeling unwell. One passenger said there was a “strong odour of exhaust gasses” in the cabin shortly before departure.
A spokesperson for Corendon told the Aviation Herald that “no abnormal parameter which might cause the occurrence has been found”.
“Only 4 passengers felt unwell. Cabin Crew immediately took necessary actions for those 4 passengers in compliance with Cabin First Aid Procedure during flight,” a statement from the airline continued.”
“A doctor and a nurse were on the aircraft and made promptly medical intervention to the passengers feeling unwell but they could not found any serious symptoms. The doctor did not recommend the crew to divert and he did not use aircraft medical kit which was made available for him during his assistance.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.