Unnamed A320 at unknown location in Jul 2018, fumes cause carbon monoxide poisoning

Last Update: December 7, 2018 / 17:52:45 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts



Aircraft Type
Airbus A320

ICAO Type Designator

An Unnamed Airbus A320-200, registration unknown performing an unidentified flight within the United States, was climbing out of their departure airport about to reach the top of climb when cabin crew notified the flight crew of an odour emanating from the aft galley. No odour was noticed in the cockpit, the flight crew executed the "Elimination of Odours in the cockpit/cabin" checklist but limited the procedure to the aft cabin/#2 air conditioning system as there was no odour detected in the front of the aircraft. After completing the checklist the flight crew talked to the cabin crew again, who advised the "dirty socks" odour had intensified and they were showing health issues. The flight crew thus decided to divert to the nearest diversion airport where the aircraft landed overweight but safely. The flight crew reported that at least one passenger reported feeling sick, too, however, declined medical treatment after landing. All four cabin crew reported nausea, burning eyes and dizziness, one flight attendant was seen vomitting in the aft lavatory. Emergency services treated the cabin crew at the gate and transported them to a hospital, where all four cabin crew were diagnosed with Carbon Monoxide Poisoning with severity ranging from mild to serious.

The occurrence came to light through NASA's aviation safety reporting system (ASRS) only, hence all basic data of the flight, including airline, exact date, airports, tail number etc. are and remain unknown. The Aviation Herald has so far not received any information of a matching occurrence. A query of the FAA's Accidents and Incident Database Systems (AIDS) for all A320 occurrences in July 2018 comes up entirely blank.

NASA's ASRS actually chose to issue an "ALERT BULLETIN" on Dec 4th 2018, which they usually do only with a pattern developing, that is serious enough to affect a significant number of flights and people.

The Alert Bulletin states that the APU had been inoperative under minimum equipment list requirements and thus was not operating. Following the occurrence flight the aircraft was ferried to a maintenance base without activating any of the packs, there was no odour on the ferry flight.

The Alert Bulletin provides following synopsis for the occurrence: "A320 flight crew reported diverting after all four flight attendants noted a dirty sock smell in the aft galley area during climb."

In stark contrast and contradicted by evidence produced by the FAA the FAA had provided The Aviation Herald with the following statement earlier this year (see our coverage at Accident: Spirit A319 at Boston on Jul 17th 2015, fumes on board, captain died 50 days later):

The FAA is committed to protecting the safety and health of passengers and cabin crews on our nation's airlines. Studies have indicated that cabin air is as good as or better than the air found in offices and homes. The FAA believes that the cabin environment in the vast majority of commercial flights is safe. However, we are concerned that if certain mechanical failures occur, the cabin environment may contain contaminants. Airlines are required to report fume events to the FAA.
Incident Facts



Aircraft Type
Airbus A320

ICAO Type Designator

This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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