British Airways A388 near Vancouver on Oct 24th 2016, fumes on board, 26 treated for smoke inhalation

Last Update: May 8, 2018 / 17:57:17 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Oct 24, 2016

Classification
Accident

Flight number
BA-286

Aircraft Registration
G-XLEB

Aircraft Type
Airbus A380-800

ICAO Type Designator
A388

A British Airways Airbus A380-800, registration G-XLEB performing flight BA-286 from San Francisco,CA (USA) to London Heathrow,EN (UK) with 388 passengers and 25 crew, was enroute at FL370 about 640nm east of Vancouver,BC (Canada), when the crew declared medical emergency and initiated a diversion first in direction to Calgary,AB (Canada), subsequently to Vancouver reporting a number of crew and passenger were feeling sick due to fumes on board detailing "toxic gasses" when the controller understood "low on fuel". The aircraft landed safely on Vancouver's runway 08L about 105 minutes later. Ambulances took 26 occupants to local hospitals.

Vancouver Hospitals reported 25 patients, 20 crew and 5 passengers, suffering from smoke inhalation have been taken to three hospitals in Vancouver. 20, all of them members of the crew, were later discharged.

The airline reported 25 crew including the three pilots and 2 passengers were taken to hospitals as a precaution after a number of cabin crew became unwell during the flight, the causes of occurrence are under investigation, however, none of the occupants was treated for smoke inhalation. All 25 crew have been discharged already. The passengers have been taken to hotels and are being rebooked onto other flights.

A passenger reported that the flight attendants at the upper deck all feeled unwell. The captain announced, that there was some technical issue with the aircraft and they were diverting to Vancouver. After landing emergency services attending to the aircraft and cabin crew talked about carbon monoxide.

The Canadian TSB have opened an investigation into the occurrence.

On Nov 1st 2016 the TSB reported that there was a strong obnoxious smell near the #4 main cabin door and upper flight deck galley. The crew consulted with dispatch and decided to divert to Calgary, but was subsequently notified that Calgary did not have the equipment needed to handle the A380, hence the crew decided to divert to Vancouver. The crew donned their oxygen masks and dumped fuel. The entire 25 crew and a passenger were taken to local hospitals for precautionary checks, 3 cabin crew and the passenger were affected by the fumes, all were released. The operator dispatched maintenance personnel as well as aircraft manufacturer's support personnel to Vancouver, however, no source of the problem could be found. The aircraft positioned to London with only flight crew and maintenance personnel on board, however, despite system troubleshooting in flight no faults were found. The aircraft returned to service.

In May 2018 The Aviation Herald received information that about 40-50 minutes into the flight an odour of glue type and burning plastics was detected near main deck door 4L. A family nearby had just oblate oil on their baby, however, the smell of the oblate oil was different to the odour detected near the door. A short time later the flight attendant in the upper deck galley began to vomit and reported there had been an odour of smelly feet during boarding and departure. Ovens and trash compactors were checked without success. During the following about 40 minutes other cabin crew members began to perform abnormally, complaints about headache, dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, metallic taste in mouth surfaced, the cabin crew members showed itchy red eyes and became increasingly forgetful, aggressive and confused, e.g. replying completely out of context of an ongoing discussion then bluntly denying what just had been said. The worst affected flight attendant was put on oxygen. Medlink was contacted, at that point 12 cabin crew were cause of concern, the captain subsequently decided to divert. Cabin crew were slow in responding to the diversion and prepare the cabin due to inability to function normally and needed to be queried and guided by other crew. After the diversion was changed to Vancouver, which added another hour of flight time, 8 cabin crew were able to get on oxygen, a few other cabin crew went to go to the toilet but were subsequently found anywhere else in the aircraft but the lavatories. In the meantime the captain had donned his oxygen mask, while the two first officers continued without. Cabin crew became concerned they couldn't cover the doors for landing with that many cabin crew already affected and close to being incapacitated. After landing two firefighters with measurement devices and full protective gear boarded the aircraft, many passengers started to use their mobile phones to take photos and videos. Paramedics boarded and began to examine the cabin crew with the most affected being checked first, the paramedics became concerned with all cabin crew and wanted all of them checked. A number of passengers requested medical assistance, too. The worst affected flight attendant vomitted again and collapsed during disembarking. Cabin crew were taken to three different hospitals across the city but declared fit to fly home as passengers the following day.
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Oct 24, 2016

Classification
Accident

Flight number
BA-286

Aircraft Registration
G-XLEB

Aircraft Type
Airbus A380-800

ICAO Type Designator
A388

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