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article imageUnited flight makes emergency landing after passengers become ill

By Caroline Leopold     Jul 23, 2015 in Travel
Grand Junction - A flight from Denver to Los Angeles was diverted to Grand Junction, Colorado, on Wednesday after a number of passengers reported feeling ill. Some on board took pictures of themselves using oxygen masks.
One person was taken to the hospital after a United Airlines flight bound for Los Angeles was diverted shortly after takeoff Wednesday. At least one person vomited, and several reported headaches and nausea, officials said.
United Airlines spokeswoman Jennifer Dohm said that on onboard medical issue caused the diversion of the Airbus A320, with 150 passengers and six crew onboard, according to The Denver Post.
"After receiving reports of multiple ill customers, our crew deployed the oxygen masks and elected to divert to Grand Junction," she said. "Our maintenance team will inspect the aircraft to determine if there were any technical issues."
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, United Flight 447 was traveling from Denver to LAX on Wednesday about 9 a.m. when it declared an emergency and diverted to Grand Junction, Colorado.
Rescue crews in Grand Junction were prepared for a serious situation inside the plane. "Initial reports were that there was smoke in the cockpit/cabin and there were 5 passengers unconscious," said Shawn Montgomery, spokesman for the Grand Junction Fire Department, according a report by 7News.
Initially one person reportedly became ill who was later transported to the hospital for evaluation. An additional 10 to 15 passengers complained of feeling light-headed, nauseous and having headaches, Montgomery said.
“It looks like there was a medical event with one person, and that caused a little bit of a chain reaction in several other people,” Montgomery said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Firefighters saw no smoke when entering the plane. Dust within the oxygen mask compartments may have been to blame.
Passengers would be placed on a different plane to complete their travel, according to the airline.
Passengers offer their own accounts of the emergency landing on Twitter
WWE star Sheamus was on board the flight and took a selfie with his oxygen mask and tweeted:
"Emergency landing in Colorado on a @united flight. Not many brave lads when the masks drop from overhead."
Later, the pro wrestler posted, "Few people unwell, but we're down safe & sound" with a picture of passengers taking stairs down to the tarmac. In another tweeted photo, he said the stranded passengers were getting a meal of pizza and soda.
Other oxygen-mask selfies appeared on Twitter and published by Mashable. One passenger who had tweeted, David Schamis, emailed Mashable his eyewitness account of what happened:
The short story is that in the middle of the flight someone passed out - the flight attendants were looking for a doctor somewhat frantically - then I heard someone say that 5 people had passed out - all in the back.
They then made an announcement that there was an oxygen problem in the cabin, although none of the pilot's indicators showed any problems. The masks dropped - initially they instructed anyone who wasn't feeling well to put on the masks but then they quickly told everyone to put them on.
Shortly thereafter it was obvious that the flight was descending and then they came on the PA and told us that we were landing in Grand Junction. When we landed there were lots of emergency vehicles waiting for us - the firemen boarded the plane with full oxygen suits and masks on. Everyone got off - a couple people were taken away in ambulances.
More about Emergency landing, ill passenger, united flight 447, Oxygen masks, oxygen mask selfies
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