Three SkyWest passengers lost consciousness, not just one, airline says

Three people, not just one, lost consciousness on SkyWest flight that made emergency landing, airline now says

Three passengers on a SkyWest Airlines flight lost consciousness before the plane made an emergency landing at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, the airline said Thursday. Initially, it had said just one passenger passed out.

It is unclear why the passengers fell ill during the Wednesday flight. Despite early reports of a pressurization issue, the airline said in a statement Thursday that “after examination by maintenance personnel and local authorities, there have been no indications of a pressurization problem or other issues with the aircraft.”

SkyWest spokesman Wes Horrocks told the Los Angeles Times that the three passengers were sitting near one another, in seats 11B, 12A and 12B. They received medical evaluation once the plane landed and were released without needing to go to a hospital, he said.

The plane, operating as a United Express flight, took off from Chicago and was headed to Windsor Locks, Conn. It landed safely at the Buffalo, N.Y., airport on Wednesday morning, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The crew "reported a pressurization problem and declared an emergency" shortly before landing in Buffalo, the FAA said in its initial statement. In a second statement Wednesday afternoon, the FAA no longer mentioned a pressurization problem.

An FAA spokesman declined to say why the change was made, but an official with knowledge of the situation told The Times that crew members initially reported a door had opened while the plane was in flight. That was later found to be untrue, according to the official, who was not authorized to discuss the incident with the media and requested anonymity.

Passenger Dave Barkley, 46, told The Times on Tuesday that at least two people lost consciousness before the pilot announced an emergency landing.

SkyWest does business through partnerships with American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines and US Airways as well as United Airlines.

For more news, follow @raablauren and @JamesQueallyLAT on Twitter.

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times

UPDATES

3:03 p.m.: This story has been updated to add that the three passengers seats' were close together.

The first version of this story was published at 12:12 p.m.

71°