Last updated: 02:30 PM ET, Fri August 14 2015

Investigation into Emergency Landing Involving Sick Pilots Completed

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | August 14, 2015

Investigation into Emergency Landing Involving Sick Pilots Completed

An investigation into an emergency landing this past March revealed Friday that a British Airways flight was forced to turn around when the pilots became sick and were forced to use their oxygen masks due to a lack of air inside the cockpit.

In a report from Alexander Smith of, a British Airways flight from London Heathrow to Seattle in March had just taken off when pilots began reporting a lack of airflow from the vents in the cockpit, according to Britain's Air Accident Investigation Branch.

After several minutes, pilots began to feel symptoms such as headache, nausea, light-headedness and difficulty concentrating, and they radioed to headquarters for maintenance advice. After opening the door to the cockpit for some air from the cabin—crew members were situated in front of the door for security—the pilots made the decision to turn the plane around and fly back to London Heathrow.

The pilots closed the cockpit and began using the oxygen masks aboard to ensure they would be able to bring the Boeing 777 down safely. After the investigation, officials found that there was a large amount of debris such as wire, bubble wrap and insulation material stuck in the duct, blocking the air from reaching the pilots.

Investigators also found that pilots aboard other Boeing 777 aircraft have also experienced similar ventilation issues in the past. Officials claim the incidents are rare, though, and not a major concern moving forward.

The British Airways flight in March was carrying 235 passengers and crew at the time of the emergency landing, but the crew was able to land the aircraft successfully without any reported injuries.

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