A regular flight turned into an emergency landing after passengers noticed a strange scent onboard the aircraft.
On Wednesday night, American Airlines Flight 338, a scheduled service from Miami, FL to Bridgetown, Barbados had to divert back to KMIA after a peculiar scent was noticed on the aircraft. The suspected odor came from a piece of carry-on luggage that smelled like “an acetone scent, similar to nail polish remover” according to one report from a passenger.
The aircraft, which had six crew members and 172 passengers on board, “returned to MIA this evening due to a chemical odor in the cabin brought on by the contents of a customer’s carry-on luggage.” Customers boarded the plane normally after the airplane touched down safely and without issue.
After the fire team examined the plane, five crew members on the flight were taken to Jackson West Medical Center just in case they were poisoned by the strong chemical smell from the acetone.
One passenger, who was not identified, told WSVN:
“Personally, it didn’t have an effect on me, but I understand that a couple of other passengers felt sick. They might have been vomiting. It felt strong enough for a couple of people. We were in the back of the plane, so it didn’t seem that out of the ordinary. I was hoping we could plow through, but I guess not.”
More details of this story from AWM:
American Airlines offered all passengers on the flight hotel accommodations since they did not reach their destination in Barbados. The passengers then had the flight rescheduled for 9 am the following day on Thursday.
Delaware Health and Social Services report that the inhalation of acetone fumes can cause severe irritation to the “nose, throat, lungs, and eyes” when inhaled for just a short period of time. If people breathe in the scent of acetone for longer periods of time, they can suffer from “headaches, dizziness, confusion, a faster pulse, nausea, and vomiting,” which explains why the flight was inundated with sick travelers after the fumes escaped the carry-on bag.
Acetone is a “volatile solvent” and is often used as a nail polish remover. It is not clear how big the container was that held the acetone or if it was full when someone brought it on the plane. However, what is certain is that it made quite a few people sick to their stomachs and caused the pilot to turn the plane around.
The source of the chemical smell was unknown, but one passenger on the airplane that it smelled like nail polish remover. On Thursday morning at 9:22 a.m., the flight departed once more for Barbados’ Grantley Adams International Airport.