BWI Officials Say Cleaning Agent Used On Southwest Flight Caused Hazmat Scare

LINTHICUM, Md. (WJZ)– It was a fearful flight for Southwest passengers landing at BWI-Marshall Airport. Two flight attendants were rushed to the hospital as Hazmat crews searched the plane.

Kai Jackson has more on what happened.

It was a scheduled landing but for two crew members there was a very unexpected scare in the sky.

Sky Eye Chopper 13 was high above BWI Airport in Linthicum after Southwest Airlines Fight 709 made its scheduled landing with an emergency on board.

The flight originated in Norfolk, Va. Authorities say at some point in the air, a flight attendant became sick. Once the plane landed, it was determined a second flight attendant was also ill. Both complained of nausea.

Authorities tell WJZ that after Flight 709 landed at BWI Airport, the two sick flight attendants were taken to the hospital and a Hazmat team with the Anne Arundel County Fire Department inspected the plane.

“They did get air samples to try and get an idea of what possibly could have been the cause and they determined that it’s a cleaning agent that was on board the aircraft, probably used in Norfolk on the ground,” Jack Cahalan, a spokesman for BWI Airport, said.

It’s unclear exactly what type of cleaning agent or material made the flight attendants sick.

None of the 134 passengers became ill. Of the five crew members on board, only two were sick. The other three were apparently OK.

“The passengers were unaffected by this. They were all off-loaded from the aircraft,” Cahalan said. “And you know, this is a kind of a hub airport, so people scattered as quickly as they could to get their next flight.”

Southwest Airlines said the two flight attendants were released from the hospital and that Flight 709 is back in service. They add the passengers on the flight made it to Chicago Thursday night.

Authorities at BWI Marshall Airport tell WJZ they have no reason to believe that this emergency involved anything other than a restroom spray.

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