View Full Version : Corendon 737 several pax unconscious

3rd Nov 2021, 09:14
A Corendon Airlines Europe Boeing 737-800, registration 9H-TJE performing flight XR-1050 from Cologne (Germany) to Rhodes (Greece) with 180 passengers and 6 crew, was climbing out of Cologne nearing the top of climb ...The aircraft had just leveled off at FL370 near Ingolstadt (Germany) when the lavatory door opened and the woman fell out of the lavatory unconscious. Apparently another four pax collapsed in short time and needed medical attention. After some time they recovered. The flight continued to Rhodes for a landing without further incident about 2:50 hours after departure from Cologne.
The aircraft remained on the ground in Rhodes for 85 minutes, then performed the return flight and has remained in service since.
No report of deployed oxygen masks, seems not to have been pressurization-related.
On Nov 1st 2021 Malta's Civil Aviation Directorate (CAD) reported the operator has notified the CAD via the occurrence reporting channel. The occurrence has been rated an incident and is being investigated. The cause of the occurrence has not yet been identified.

3rd Nov 2021, 10:50
In a 747-400 with 340 passengers it would be a completely normal flight to have at least a couple of passengers faint during a flight. The subjects are predominantly female and faint after staying in their seats for too long before getting up quickly to go to the toilet. The moment they stand up all the blood leaves the brain and they faint. If you are a smoker you are already walking around at sea level as if you are at 5000' so adding some extra altitude to that gives you instant hypoxia. People with circulatory problems like diabetes or varicose veins seem to be particularly at risk.

Sitting them down on oxygen for a few minutes normally fixes the problem.

3rd Nov 2021, 10:51
Very good info on AV Herald . Unfortunately, lots of important information we still do not know.
I was taught that loss of consciousness is a life threatening condition, so if not really just a short-time faint and considering several pax collapsed, reported heavy exhaust smell before T/O, this whole story deserves a thorough investigation-including all decision making on the crew. It might be explainable by factors, not related to A/C and operation itself and reasonable, but might be another irresponsible press-on-as-planned, such as Smartwings QS1125 single-engine flight across Europe in Aug. 2019. I am really looking forward for the incident report of Malta CAD.

Less Hair
3rd Nov 2021, 10:57
Sounds like some cabin air problem with several passengers in the back affected. Would it be wise to carry on for hours instead of landing for some medical checks and assistance and some cabin air quality check? Hard to find more details on this flight.

compressor stall
3rd Nov 2021, 11:38
It may equally sound the other way… that a lady fainted and the power of the human mind caused others nearby to as well.

It’s highly unlikely that air in just a couple of rows could be affected.

3rd Nov 2021, 16:39
wasn't it the 9H-TJF?

3rd Nov 2021, 17:37

What makes you say that ? Don't you believe the Avherald report ?

3rd Nov 2021, 19:24

I fly a different type, but about the same amount of passengers and the total number of fainted pax in about 10 years is still countable on 2 hands.
While it isn't a very rare occurence, multiple on 1 flight would be, as far as my experience goes.

3rd Nov 2021, 20:19
In a German newspaper there was an interview with a passenger, whose father was among the collapsed. She said, in the beginning there was a stinging smell and she felt a pressure on her ears for a prolonged time after takeoff. Could be a hint for a problem with pressurization during initial climb.
(German) https://ga.de/bonn/stadt-bonn/passagiere-fallen-auf-flug-von-koeln-bonn-nach-rhodos-in-ohnmacht_aid-63725303

4th Nov 2021, 09:06
Was this an early morning departure? I did not see any timings on the reports, but searching by flight number, recently it seemed to leave at 04:00 from Cologne. The passengers will have been up all night in that case, which can be a factor. There have also been problems in the past with toilet deep cleaning overnight before the first flight of the day. I have certainly experienced very pungent chemical smells when operating in these circumstances. With hindsight I am pretty sure the crew will be regretting not diverting.

Timmy Tomkins
4th Nov 2021, 10:50
Not a Boeing pilot myself but could that be either a fume event OR resetting the pressurisation after finding it set to manual after take off. Helios but with a better outcome?

4th Nov 2021, 20:39
Single pack alt. limit ignored? Just a thought.

5th Nov 2021, 08:36
I am not optimistic that we will ever find out what really happened. The only meaningful investigation will probably be by Corendon Europe’s flight safety department, who I doubt will share their findings, (no blame/open) safety culture rules etc.

Whilst weird and wonderful failure modes of the pressurisation system and/or crew error cannot be totally excluded I think the more likely explanation is that passengers and crew were not at the top of their game with an early check in between two and three in the morning, if the flight takeoff time 04:27 on the internet is correct. It is reported by the operator that one passenger had an epileptic fit and was attended by a doctor. At the same time a number of passengers are reported to have fainted, triggered possibly by a fume event of some kind, notoriously difficult to investigate, but mass panic cannot be excluded at this stage either. With many years as a captain on the 737 I would be surprised if this was a pressurisation problem.

For me this scenario would be an ideal pilot interview question. You reach top of climb at five in the morning and the purser tells you that a passenger is having an epileptic fit. A little while later she says she has found a doctor but a number of passengers are distressed. The only airport officially open is your departure airfield half an hour behind you and the passengers seem to be recovering although some of your young foreign national cabin crew are having difficulty communicating with the passengers. What do you do next?

5th Nov 2021, 09:24

In addition, an absence of any rubber jungle photos on social media from passengers would support (though not rule out) the proposition that it wasn't a pressurisation issue.

5th Nov 2021, 12:05
At least the cabin altitude does not seem to have exceeded 14 kft, where O2 masks would have dropped automatically.

Old King Coal
6th Nov 2021, 08:43
Wrt a Bleeds Off Takeoff... it might be pointed out that the initial two items of Boeing's B737 'After Takeoff Checklist' are "Engine bleeds ON" and "Packs AUTO" and it's written like that precisely to address the 'Bleeds Off' takeoff scenario, such that the air-conditioning system is reset at the earliest opportunity (on the assumption that a 'bleeds off' takeoff has been conducted) wherein the after takeoff checklist is typically conducted soon after the flaps have been retracted to 'Up' (veritably PM = "Flaps up; Lights out" --> PF "After Takeoff Checklist") and, in the bleeds off takeoff scenario, before the 'After Takeoff Checklist' can be completed, it must invariably be preceded by the instructions contained within Boeing's B737 FCOM / Supplementary Procedures / Air Systems / No Engine Bleed Takeoff And Landing / After Takeoff.
So, it'd be pretty gash to do a bleeds off takeoff and then somehow forget to reset the air system (i.e. when it's the first item on the after takeoff checklist) which is all assuming that that's what might have happened and about which there is no evidence to support that it did.

Wrt 'fumes'. Air distribution throughout the cabin of a B737 is pretty much uniform, wherein (even taking account of the injection of 'Trim Air' into the forward & aft cabin air supply ducts) - and with the recirculation system in operation - cabin air pretty quickly gets sent back through the Mixing Manifold (where it's mixed with air from other sections of the cabin) before being re-fed back into the cabin again. Accordingly, air quality in the aft cabin is fundamentally the same as the air quality in the forward cabin and air delivery (via the risers, thence into the overhead distribution ducts) is, again, pretty much uniform throughout the forward & aft cabin zones, such that cabin air delivery in the very rear seats is the same air thats being delivered out of the louvres 5, 10, 15 rows in front. Accordingly, I'm far from convinced about a 'fumes' cause.

Wrt "the purser tells you that a passenger is having an epileptic fit"... the last time the purser said that to me, the pax who was having what, for all intents & purposes, appeared to be a 'fit', was in fact suffering the effects of a massive overdose of cocaine (latterly, it turned out that the pax was a drug 'mule' and one of the packets of cocaine that they'd swallowed had burst inside of them). In spite of the cabin crew's best endeavours to keep that pax alive, the pax was pronounced DOA (at the airport we diverted to). There then followed a couple of hours on the ground, whilst a Dr. and a Coroner were located (a Dr. to certify the pax 'clinically dead' and Coroner to certify them 'legally dead'), thereafter the body was off-loaded and we then carried on to our destination. Hey ho.

Nonetheless, it's a tricky call. Some might say "If in doubt, then there's no doubt" (i.e. put it on the ground and sort the problem out there)... but we weren't there and we're also not privy to all the facts.

6th Nov 2021, 09:52
Thanks for taking the time to post such an authoritative reply Old King Coal. If I was interviewing you would definitely get the job! The point you make as a highly experienced 737 captain is that there is not automatically a right answer to the interview question, which I hasten to add does not necessarily describe the scenario with the Corendon flight. But the media outrage that they did not land straight away seems a bit premature given the lack of hard facts so far.

I would add that with 180 passengers packed in like sardines, wearing face masks and quite probably with a pretty warm cabin (the 737 temperature management in the cabin is not itís greatest feature) there are a number of factors which might contribute to people feeling faint as well as it being the lowest point in most peopleís circadian rhythm. The young woman sitting in the confined space of the rear toilet and getting up rapidly then losing consciousness could also be explained by fairly normal physiological processes.

BEA 71
6th Nov 2021, 09:59
Lederhosen has made some valid points. This time of the day one is definately not at the height of his/her performance. These days passengers have to wear a mask once they enter the terminal, which, as I know myself, reduces the intake of oxygen. Have been through that very recently, the flight itself was fine, but the long walk from security to the departure gate was a nightmare.

Old King Coal
6th Nov 2021, 10:39
lederhosen... Many thanks; The job offer is gratefully received. When do I start? :ok:

As to media outrage, one's very much of the opinion that most journalists knowledge of aviation, and stories emanating thereof, are entirely produced via the following resource: The Lazy Journalists Plane Story Generator (http://www.radans.net/jens/planestory.html) <-- click the link.

6th Nov 2021, 11:14
Late June this year, somewhere in central Europe:

Up to 20 students have collapsed partly unconscious during the graduation ceremony at the regional police academy. A thorough investigation followed to explore all possible angles also to rule out unlawful interference and biological attack, to much relief no physiological reason was found. Among possibilities specifically tested was drug (legal and illegal) abuse, alcohol intake, sleep deprivation, and intoxication from external contaminants.

The final conclusion on the most likely chain of events is faints of a single girl student, followed by her two female friends standing near, possibly from hyperventilation. This may have triggered a cascade crowd reaction, compounded by the stress of the occasion and possibly boy students wearing ties and formal suits on a hot day for the first time.

real story.

6th Nov 2021, 11:44
Originally Posted by BEA 71
These days passengers have to wear a mask once they enter the terminal, which, as I know myself, reduces the intake of oxygen.

You might find reading this helpful: Face masks have negligible negative effect on CO2 and O2 levels (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/face-masks-have-negligible-negative-effect-on-co2-and-o2-levels)

Less Hair
6th Nov 2021, 12:55
Negligible? Try to carry your luggage and run through an airport terminal with mask on versus without one. And then decide which variant is easier to breathe with? I'd clearly say without one. No smart studies needed.

6th Nov 2021, 15:43
Every morning I get on an exercise machine (NuStep) for a 20 minute session. Several times I have tried the my routine exercise protocol with and without a mask. With a mask is definitely more difficult.

18th Nov 2021, 21:18
BEA 71 I suspect experienced shortness of breath, even though he didn't say that directly. BEA 71 - Please correct me if I am wrong.

The link you posted David said this towards the end....

Dr. Campos explains, “Dyspnea, the feeling of shortness of breath felt with masks by some, is not synonymous [with] alterations in gas exchange. It likely occurs from restriction of air flow with the mask in particular when higher ventilation is needed on exertion.”

So your Vol O2/CO2 may not vary significantally but you can experience shortness of breath... And that can be distressing/frightening.

18th Nov 2021, 22:05
Interesting article which may well have some relevance to this event. https://wsvn.com/news/special-reports/toxic-takeoff-flight-attendants-former-pilot-sound-alarm-over-fume-events-on-planes/

5th Dec 2021, 12:42
Does anyone know the A/C maintenance decontamination procedure for an engine oil bleed air contamination event. Many thanks