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Bonners experience a horror flight: Passengers faint on flight from Cologne/Bonn to Rhodes

Bonners experience a horror flight : Passengers faint on flight from Cologne/Bonn to Rhodes

Vita K. from Bonn and her parents had a horror flight. Five passengers fainted on the way from Cologne to Rhodes, her father even had a cardiac arrest for a short time.

Vita K. from Bonn and her parents had a horror flight. Five passengers fainted on the way from Cologne to Rhodes, her father even had a cardiac arrest for a short time. Now the family is trying in vain to find out what happened on board. They feel abandoned by the airline. And the German authorities can't help either.

Holiday destination: Rhodes. It is still pleasantly warm there at the beginning of October, while in Germany the leaves are already falling from the trees. "Such a three-hour flight is unusual for my parents, but not for me, because I travel a lot," says Vita K. But what was to happen on the way from Cologne/Bonn airport to the Greek island was something she had never experienced before, and she describes it as follows. "In the beginning, there was a pungent smell on board. We sat in the very back and had pressure on our ears for a long time.“

A few minutes later, she sees a woman fall out of the toilet. "I thought she was dead because she was so pale," says K. She looks over at her father. "He was hot at that moment," she recalls. Suddenly he slumps down and no longer has a pulse. A few seats ahead, three people also pass out. "People were screaming, nobody knew what was going on.“

Statement from Corendon Airlines

Fortunately, there was a doctor among the passengers who attended to them. The medic had also asked for a defibrillator, which, according to K., was not on board. Nevertheless, the pilot did not turn around. Vita K.'s father and the others recover on the flight, shortly after landing they are examined and receive a certificate about the incident. The doctors' assumption: There was a lack of oxygen. But there is no certainty that this is the case, not even in retrospect. As compensation, Corendon Airlines, a low-cost airline that has been taking off from Cologne/Bonn since 2018, offers them a free seat reservation for the return flight. It was almost impossible to reach customer service, Vita K reports.

A spokesperson for Corendon Airlines tells GA that of the 180 passengers who were on board, only "four felt unwell". The crew immediately started first aid. A doctor and a nurse were among the passengers, who could not detect any "serious symptoms". "The doctor did not advise the crew to turn back and he did not use the first aid kit on board," the spokesman said. He said air traffic control was subsequently informed of the incident and flight recorder data was sent. "Our maintenance and safety departments have not been able to detect any abnormal parameters that could be the cause of the incident.“

Complaints to the German Federal Aviation Authority

The German Federal Aviation Authority (LBA) has received complaints about flight CXI-1050. It checks whether the Air Passenger Rights Ordinance is being complied with. If airlines do not exonerate themselves in an administrative offence procedure, they can be fined. But not in the case of flight CXI-1050. "It is not the LBA that is responsible, but the Maltese authority," says spokesman Stefan Commeßmann. Corendon Airlines has sister airlines in the Netherlands, Turkey and Malta. The K. family's flight was operated by Corendon Airlines Europe, based in Luqu, Malta, which is why incident reports are also received there.

According to aviation expert Linus Benjamin Bauer from Bonn, a so-called "fume event" could have been the cause of the passengers' fainting. In this case, the cabin air is contaminated with vapours or exhaust gases. "The number of incidents of this kind has been greatly reduced in recent years, but nowadays you have to expect a technical incident like this every now and then - even if the chance is very small," he explains. Engineers have developed filter systems and sensors that prevent "fume events". However, the retrofitting is a financial burden for the airlines, which is why some with an older fleet are still hesitant today. Especially during the pandemic, which meant big losses for many. "New aircraft are able to ventilate the cabin with fresh air - instead of having to tap the air from the engine as usual," Bauer says.

Even though every airline is obliged to report every single incident on board and on the ground to the authorities and the aircraft manufacturer, investigations differ from country to country, which also affects transparency. According to Bauer, the chance of reimbursement is low, although there are exceptions. "From a legal point of view, it is difficult to challenge a full refund if the airline fulfilled the service contract and transported the passenger from A to B." In the case of flight delays, flight cancellations or missed connecting flights, on the other hand, one is entitled to refunds according to EU passenger rights.

(Original text: Nicolas Ottersbach; Translation: Mareike Graepel)