By CORTNEY WEIL
Some passengers aboard a plane at a major Las Vegas airport experienced significant physical reactions to soaring temperatures after their flight taxied and then idled for about four hours without air conditioning, reports claim.
On Monday, Delta flight 555 from Las Vegas to Atlanta was in the queue at Harry Reid Airport behind about a dozen other planes waiting to take off. According to the New York Post, before the plane could take off, the pilot announced that the plane had to return to the gate for “multiple emergencies,” presumably the result of the sweltering outdoor temperatures, which reached as high as 115 degrees that day, and a lack of air conditioning inside the plane.
Witnesses claimed that flight attendants had been walking up and down the aisles with oxygen tanks as some passengers began to lose consciousness, others lost control of their bowels, and babies wailed. Fox News field producer Krista Garvin was on the plane and reported that the pilot instructed those passengers experiencing a medical emergency to press the call button.
Once the plane returned to the gate, people were told to remain seated while paramedics attended to those who had taken ill. Garvin reported seeing at least five passengers wheeled off the plane on stretchers. There are also indications that at least one flight attendant was transported off the plane on a gurney and wearing an oxygen mask.
The other passengers languishing at the gate who were not suffering a medical episode were told that they could deplane. However, those who chose to do so risked losing their spot on board and were warned that they might not have another opportunity to fly to Atlanta for several days. As a result, many chose to stay, only to be eventually forced to disembark. The entire ordeal on board lasted approximately four hours, Garvin reported.
As frustrating as the experience must have been on the plane, it did not end after everyone got off. Though passengers were promised that their flight had been rescheduled for 7 a.m. the following day, they discovered in the early hours of Tuesday morning that their flight had been canceled.
A spokesperson for Harry Reid Airport told Fox News that officials there had been unaware of the incident. However, airport spokesperson Joe Rajchel confirmed to CNN that first responders had received a call for medical assistance aboard a plane on Monday. “Rajchel referred CNN to the airline for further comment,” the outlet added.
Delta issued a statement that the onboard environment had become “uncomfortable” and that officials would be “looking into” the incident. “We apologize for the experience our customers had on flight 555 from Las Vegas to Atlanta on July 17, which ultimately resulted in a flight cancellation,” the statement said. “Delta teams are looking into the circumstances that led to uncomfortable temperatures inside the cabin and we appreciate the efforts of our people and first responders at Harry Reid International.”
Delta also stated that affected customers had received compensation and apologies and were booked on other flights. The details of their compensation are unclear.