SkyWest unclear on why plane passengers lost consciousness

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 23, 2015 2:22 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A day after three unrelated passengers lost consciousness on a commercial plane traveling from Chicago to Hartford, Connecticut, airline officials remained unclear on what had caused the travelers to pass out.

The pilot of SkyWest Airlines flight 5622, operating as United Express, began a rapid descent of the plane after learning that a passenger had passed out from possible cabin pressure issues, said airline spokeswoman Marissa Snow.

After making an emergency landing in Buffalo, New York, medics on the ground determined that two additional passengers, who were not traveling together or seated near one another, also lost consciousness, Snow said.

It is not known at what point those two passengers lost consciousness.

All passengers on the plane, including those affected and 75 other travelers, were evaluated and released after landing.

No pressurization problem was found after maintenance staff and local authorities reviewed the aircraft, Snow said. Earlier media reports that a cabin door had opened, causing cabin pressure changes, were not true, Snow said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said on Wednesday that the crew on the Embraer aircraft had reported a pressurization problem and declared an emergency. The agency later amended its statement to omit mention of the pressurization problem.

The National Transportation Safety Board is gathering information and determining whether to launch an investigation, NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss said on Thursday.

(Reporting by Laila Kearney)