A flight from Atlanta to Barcelona returned to the airport after the incident was deemed a “biohazard issue,” according to reports
A Delta flight from Atlanta, Georgia, to Barcelona, Spain, had to make a U-turn Friday after a passenger suffered a “medical issue” that turned out to be a case of severe diarrhea, according to multiple reports.
FlightAware records show that Delta 194 left the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport at 8:29 p.m., traveling for 2 hours and eleven minutes before returning at 10:40 p.m.
A short audio clip of the pilot’s emergency call to dispatchers was shared on social media. “This is a biohazard issue,” the pilot said. “You know, we’ve had a passenger who had diarrhea all the way through the airplane, so they want us to come back to Atlanta.”
A Delta Airlines Airbus A350 turned around back to Atlanta Friday night because of diarrhea throughout the airplane from a passenger and it’s a biohazard. 👀🥴
The FAA flight strip for DL194 was posted to Reddit (📷xStang05x) Also a passenger posted here asking why her son’s… pic.twitter.com/VWbkB47wF1
— Thenewarea51 (@thenewarea51) September 3, 2023
“My partner was on that flight!” a user commented on Twitter (now known as X). “It was pretty bad. It was dribbled down the aisle, smelled horrible. The vanilla-scented disinfectant used on it only made it smell like vanilla s---. After the plane landed, it was thoroughly cleaned.”
Delta confirmed to PEOPLE in a statement that there had been a "medical issue" on board.
"Our teams worked as quickly and safely as possible to thoroughly clean the airplane and get our customers to their final destination. We sincerely apologize to our customers for the delay and inconvenience to their travel plans," the statement read.
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A spokesperson for the airline added that the flight didn’t land in Barcelona until 5:16 p.m. the next day — eight hours after its scheduled arrival.
The mid-flight incident comes after a flight from Miami to Chile was forced to make an emergency stop on Aug. 14 after its pilot died mid-flight “due to a medical emergency,” according to LATAM Airlines.
The captain of the flight — which ultimately landed at Tocumen International Airport in Panama — reportedly went to the restroom mid–flight but did not return, reported The Aviation Herald. Despite the best efforts of the crew to revive him the pilot died after the plane made its emergency landing.
In another air travel crisis, a 68-year-old woman on a private Massachusetts plane was also forced to take over the controls and land the aircraft in July when its pilot suffered health problems "upon approach."
The passenger ultimately landed the Piper Meridian Turbo Prop six-seat plane "on its belly with no landing gear," according to WTPD.
"The female had minor injuries and the male party was extricated from the plane and subsequently med-flighted to Boston for additional treatment," they added. "The Massachusetts State Police and FAA are involved in the investigation.".
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