SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A United Airlines flight from Baltimore to San Francisco International Airport was forced to make an emergency landing near Washington, DC on Friday.
United Airlines Flight 1675 departed Baltimore-Washington International Airport shortly after 6:30 a.m. Eastern Time (3:30 a.m. Pacific).
After passengers reported an odor in the cabin, the Boeing 737-800 landed about an hour later at Washington-Dulles International Airport in Virginia, about 45 miles away. Normal airport operations were not impacted.
According to CBS station WJZ in Baltimore, seven passengers were taken to local hospitals. The source of the reported odor is unclear.
In a statement to WJZ, United Airlines confirmed that there was a “strong odor” in the cabin and that customers would be rebooked on flights to SFO from Washington-Dulles.
Blogger BarredinDC said his wife was among those taken to the hospital.
“Did not expect to be in a hospital this morning,” he tweeted. “Faint fuel smell was on plane before we departed and was quite strong while in air. Tons of firetrucks, about 20 people complaining of nausea, chest pains, headaches, anxiety attacks and/or trouble breathing.”
Raman Santra, another passenger on the flight, said a scent of fuel in the cabin caused several passengers to complain of nausea, chest pain and trouble breathing.
“Before take-off, you could detect a faint smell of fuel which I thought nothing of,” Santra told CNN. “As we continued to go to cruising altitude, the smell became very strong.”
The airline informed passengers that the aircraft required “prolonged ventilation system maintenance,” Santra said.
Santra’s wife, Jo Palmer, was one of the seven hospitalized because she had more acute symptoms. He said United Airlines representatives offered to take care of the hospital bills and other expenses.
Palmer is doing better now, and the two hope to make it to their friend’s wedding later Friday, Santra said.
Flight 1675 was expected to arrive in San Francisco around 10 a.m.
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