United Airlines flight UA71, which was en route from Amsterdam to New York, had to return to Schiphol airport two hours after departure and turned back over Iceland. Some fifteen occupants of the plane, both crew members and passengers, had become sick for a so far unknown reason.
An eyewitness stated: "The purser said there were problems with flight attendants and a pilot who had become unwell."
"A number of travelers were also affected by complaints, we heard."
It would appear a great number of passengers had complained about a 'bad smell' on the plane. This could indicate some sort of toxic air in the cabin due to oil leakage in the engines. Other passengers stated there was a 'lack of oxygen' in the plane.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">United <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UA71?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UA71</a> to Newark returned to Amsterdam due to medical emergency of part of the crew <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/radarbox?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#radarbox</a> <a href="https://t.co/bV8zFwFeGd">https://t.co/bV8zFwFeGd</a> <a href="https://t.co/ZXBtKpNBvp">pic.twitter.com/ZXBtKpNBvp</a></p>— AIRLIVE (@airlivenet) <a href="https://twitter.com/airlivenet/status/954402563146878976?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 19, 2018</a></blockquote>
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A United Airlines spokesperson, however, claims there was nothing wrong with the device. He suspects that there was an acute flu or food poisoning situation due to the food on the plane. The American airline says it will investigate the incident in more detail and soon publish a detailed report.
As the number of sick people on board continued to increase, the pilot decided to return to Amsterdam for safety reasons.
Upon arrival Schiphol airport, the Boeing made a precautionary landing which looked quite harsh, as a result of which smoke was detected at the tires.
“A small fire broke out in the landing gear, this was immediately extinguished by the emergency services. Due to the hard touchdown the aircraft suffered from a flat tire.”
All passengers will spend the night in a hotel near Schiphol, paid for by United Airlines. On Saturday afternoon they can fly to New York with another plane.
The people who had become unwell were transported to hospital and medically examined but in the end, no one had to be admitted to hospital.