A flight bound for paradise takes a nauseating turn as passengers fall ill due to an unexpected culprit in a carry-on bag.

A Miami-to-Barbados American Airlines flight was forced to make a U-turn back to the United States when the overpowering odor of nail polish remover from a carry-on bag caused several passengers to become nauseated and vomit.

Flight 338 took off from Miami International Airport around 6 pm on Wednesday but never made it to Barbados due to the intense chemical smell that left passengers feeling ill.

An unidentified passenger told WSVN, “I didn’t personally feel the effects, but I know some other passengers felt sick and may have even thrown up. The smell was strong enough to bother a few people. We were seated in the back of the plane, so it didn’t seem too out of the ordinary. I had hoped we could push through, but I guess not.”

Upon returning to Miami around 9 pm, the plane was directed to the “penalty box,” a designated area for planes that need to be isolated without disrupting other aircraft. Passengers and crew members disembarked while Miami-Dade Fire Rescue boarded the plane to address the chemical issue, according to spokesperson Greg Chin.

After the plane was examined, five crew members were taken to Jackson West Medical Center as a precaution against potential poisoning from the acetone fumes. American Airlines provided hotel accommodations for all passengers, with a rescheduled flight set for 9 am the following Thursday.

The number of passengers on the flight is undisclosed, but the pilot deemed it necessary to return to Miami to prevent further passengers from falling ill due to the potent chemical odor. Delaware Health and Social Services report that short-term exposure to acetone fumes can cause significant irritation to the nose, throat, lungs, and eyes. Prolonged exposure can lead to headaches, dizziness, confusion, increased pulse, nausea, and vomiting.

Acetone, a volatile solvent commonly found in nail polish remover, was the culprit in this case. The size of the acetone container and whether it was full when brought on board remain unknown. However, it is evident that the fumes caused several passengers to experience discomfort and sickness.

This incident is not the first time acetone has caused problems on flights. In 2017, a Qantas flight made an emergency landing due to a passenger feeling ill after exposure to nail polish remover fumes in a carry-on bag. The powerful scent caused nausea among other passengers, with one person even fainting.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) does not currently classify acetone as a “dangerous good,” meaning it is not prohibited on planes. However, future incidents like this could prompt reconsideration of this classification.

Source: AWM

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