Three people hospitalised by chemical leak on board American Airlines plane

Verity Bowman

Three people have been hospitalised after a cleaning product leaked on an American Airlines flight forcing it to make an emergency landing in Dublin.

The plane was less than an hour into its flight from London Heathrow to Philadelphia when two crew members fell unconscious due to the powerful smell.

Several passengers complained of burning eyes and skin irritation and one traveller was also taken to hospital in Ireland.

287 passengers and 12 Philadelphia-based crew members were on board flight AA729, which had been cleared for take off despite concerns over the leaked liquid.

Reports suggest the product was left behind in one of the bathrooms. In audio from the cockpit, the pilot explained that although the product is believed to be non-toxic, the crew required immediate assistance.

He said: "We’ve actually covered the container of the substance. It was a cleaning product that was used at London Heathrow, if you wait a moment I actually have a picture of the container that I have in a plastic bag.

"It was spilled and for some reason the container itself was left behind in the aircraft in one of the lavatories and continued to seep into the carpeting and produce what I’m told is not, it is not a toxic substance.

"We require paramedics to come on board the airplane and render immediate assistance. We’ve had two of our flight crew staff made, excuse me, the cabin staff have actually lost consciousness, but I think they’re back to a state of consciousness just now and there are general complaints about burning eyes and skin problems."

The pilot added that the leaking product was an aircraft interior cleaner made by Callington, a leading specialty chemicals manufacturer.

One passenger told The Telegraph the plane had been delayed at Heathrow whilst reports of an "unusual smell" were investigated.

He said: "Before take off the captain came on the loudspeaker saying the flight attendants had reported an unusual smell, and the flight was delayed while they investigated. They must've judged it safe because we flew out after, only to be rerouted to Dublin a short time later."

He added that the flight's 287 passengers were "penned in like cattle" at Dublin airport before been taken by bus to stay overnight in a hotel. They have not been told when they can expect onward travel.

Another passenger expressed concern for others onboard, calling the incident a "sickness outbreak".

A statement released by American Airlines said: "American Airlines flight 729 from London Heathrow to Philadelphia diverted to Dublin due to an odor caused by a spilled cleaning solution in the galley."

"The flight landed safely in Dublin at 1:15 p.m. local time, and taxied to the gate."

"Medical personnel have met the aircraft to evaluate any crew members or passengers who may need additional assistance."

The Telegraph has contacted Callington for comment.

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