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Carbon monoxide in passenger cabin?

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Carbon monoxide in passenger cabin?

Old 10th Jul 2016, 12:16
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Carbon monoxide in passenger cabin?

Delta flight diverted to Tulsa after illness reported on Saturday flight - KJRH.com

It apparently wasn't the fish.

How could this happen? Never heard of such a thing.
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Old 10th Jul 2016, 17:45
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It sounds more like mass hysteria (psychogenic illness What Is Mass Psychogenic Illness? - American Family Physician ), with the rate of change of cabin air and the mixing it would be unlikely to be CO. One person feels ill and fills a sick bag and others around are similarly affected.
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Old 10th Jul 2016, 17:59
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TRY AGAIN re carbon Monoxide

TULSA -- Several passengers voiced their frustrations after a flight from Atlanta to Denver was diverted to Tulsa.
Dylan Doyle was on his way from Atlanta to Denver to see his girlfriend, however; the trip was cut short when Delta flight 1817 was forced to land because 9 people were feeling nauseous.
"As people started seeing other people freaking out everybody just kind of went into a panic," said Doyle.

"We arrived, assisted with evaluating 12 patients who had complained of or were showing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning," said Tulsa Fire Captain Stan May.
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Old 10th Jul 2016, 18:02
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showing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning
Doesn't mean it was cmp though.
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Old 10th Jul 2016, 18:40
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From newson6.com:
Tulsa firefighters said the Delta airline passengers who became ill on a flight that was diverted to Tulsa were suffering from elevated carbon monoxide levels in the blood.
....

The district chief that responded to the incident said they initially had reports that 12 to 15 passengers complained of nausea, headache and dizziness, TFD told News On 6. EMSA and Hazmat crews responded and pulled everyone out of the plane.EMSA treated nine people, according to spokesperson Kelli Bruer. The fire department said the patients recovered with fresh air and the administration of oxygen.

Another passenger was transported to the hospital on an unrelated complaint of hypertension, a TFD spokesperson said.

The MD 90 plane was evaluated by Tulsa Hazmat crews who did not find elevated CO levels. The plane was released to Delta maintenance, according to the Assistant Chief's Office. TFD noted that people in the front of the plane did not experience symptoms of illness.
And btw from Avherald:
Accident: Germanwings A319 between Stuttgart and Hamburg on May 11th 2016, two cabin crew poisoned by carbon monoxide
Emergency services, paramedics, arrived and took measurements for carbon monoxide, one of the flight attendants showed a value of 9 (normal values 0-3) prompting the paramedics to immediately call an emergency doctor, who confirmed carbon monoxide poisoning, a second ambulance was called, one paramedics team per flight attendant, with the emergency doctor coordinating efforts to stabilize the patients, carbon monoxide levels in the blood still rising until reaching a value of 13.

Last edited by MrsDoubtfire; 10th Jul 2016 at 20:07. Reason: correction: Double c&p...
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Old 10th Jul 2016, 19:22
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The thing about Carbon Monoxide is that you don't need very much to produce symptoms.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. Free information. Patient | Patient

Carbon monoxide competes with oxygen to form carboxyhaemoglobin (HbCO) instead of oxyhaemoglobin but it has 210 times the affinity for haemoglobin. In an atmosphere of 21% oxygen and 0.1% carbon monoxide, therefore, the blood will leave the lungs about 50% saturated with oxyhaemoglobin and 50% saturated with carboxyhaemoglobin.

An ambient carbon monoxide level of 100 parts per million (ppm) produces 16% HbCO at equilibrium, which is sufficient to produce clinical symptoms.
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Old 10th Jul 2016, 19:50
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CO poisoning

Highly toxic at very low levels. Burn any hydrocarbon without enough oxygen, you will get CO. But it should be outside not inside.

The bright red colour of carboxyhaemoglobin (vs deep red for oxygenated, and blueish for deoxygenated) normally gives it away.

The question is: how might exhaust fumes end up in the cabin?
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Old 10th Jul 2016, 20:07
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The question is: how might exhaust fumes end up in the cabin?
might not be from the exhaust
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Old 10th Jul 2016, 20:11
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I tried to google up a previous example but could only find this one on an MD80 from 1989. (Yes I know the MD80 isn't an MD90).

https://news.google.com/newspapers?n...85,92435&hl=en
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Old 10th Jul 2016, 20:29
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A piston engine normally generates CO as a result of a rich-burning mixture. The excess fuel is necessary for cooling the hardware.

A turbine engine conversely is lean burning, because the excess air in the cycle does the cooling. Although a minute amount of CO may be generated, it does not flow upstream through the compressor to the bleed ducts and cabin pressurization.

I'd keep looking.
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Old 10th Jul 2016, 21:10
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Sources of CO

I don't see any other sources of CO on a plane apart from the engines and the apu.

And three points. Planes burn a huge amount of carbon per second. So the % CO may be small but the absolute amount is big (compared say with a water heater, known killers).

A jet engine working properly might produce little CO, but what if it had a problem?

And finally, these pax did not die. The level of CO must have been tiny.

So where else to look?
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Old 10th Jul 2016, 23:37
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Once airborne, jet exhaust is not going to get into the cabin air system. Even on an engine with a problem, if it is running and producing thrust, the bleed system air is tapped well upstream of the fires and exhaust products of combustion.

On the ground, ingestion of fumes from other aircraft, ground equipment, or when the wind and aircraft orientation is just right, from your own engines or APU exhaust can happen. In any case, the fumes will be highly noticeable by most people, whereas CO has no odor.

It is possible there was something foreign to the aircraft in the cabin or cargo hold that produced the harmful gas. Failing oil seals have been known to affect cabin air, but CO would not be present.
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Old 11th Jul 2016, 02:27
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It is possible there was something foreign to the aircraft in the cabin or cargo hold that produced the harmful gas. Failing oil seals have been known to affect cabin air, but CO would not be present

unless ................................
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Old 11th Jul 2016, 03:52
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This was an MD-90 - do those have hush kits? Can hush kits affect how fuel is burned? I have definitely smelled jet fuel fumes on DC-9 series aircraft in the past. Apparently the passengers in the front of the plane were unaffected.
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Old 11th Jul 2016, 09:31
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No need on the 90s (or the MD-80 for Stage III).
Only the original old gal could only manage Stage II out of the box.
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Old 11th Jul 2016, 11:00
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I really would not rely on a Fire Chief for diagnostic skills. Especially one looking for fame, funding and publicity talking to the media. If it was CO poisoning, the hospital would easily measure raised carboxyhaemaglobin levels - simple blood test in a small hospital, putting a probe on a finger in a teaching centre.

Many things cause nausea, headache and dizziness. CO poisoning is rare and in most cases you would smell other contaminants. Anyhow, it appears engineering found no problem.
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Old 11th Jul 2016, 11:13
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This could easily have come from oil contamination from a faulty oil seal in the engine, or faulty AC pack. Its not the first time those failures have occurred.
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Old 11th Jul 2016, 11:13
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contrary to other dangerous things in the cabin air, carbon monoxide is included in the certification satndards and measured during the flight testing of the aircraft.
Number one source for CO is recirculated engine exhaust when running on the ground with adverse wind. There should basically be no CO in the engine upstream of the bleed air system. Same with APU, so unless some of the intake/exhaust ducts do leak, it is highly unlikely to have CO in the bleed air in flight.
On the ground it can be a totally different story

Something smoldering somewhere may produce CO, oven insulation, bleed system contamination, electric fire...
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Old 11th Jul 2016, 12:25
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What makes me suspicious of the CO diagnosis is the method of recovery. Normally, the patients would be given oxygen to breath and that would reduce their CO levels by 50% every 80 minutes. Walking around in fresh air (as is reported) reduces CO levels (actually, the COHb level) by 50% every 320 minutes (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon...ning#Treatment).

I think we need to consider this scenario: Many passengers smoked before boarding the plane - and those smokers had a lower tolerance for the reduced cabin air pressure. Some of these passengers and perhaps some others got sick during the flight so the flight landed. On landing, many of the sick passengers had elevated CO levels from smoking - but not elevated so much that the were offered oxygen therapy.

Regarding CO levels: Home detectors can detect 1 or 2 parts per million (ppm), flu-like symptoms start at 35 ppm, loss of judgement starts at 200 ppm, convulsions within 45 minutes at 800 ppm, death in less than 2 hours at 1600 ppm.

During a power outage in my town that lasted several days, I was with a volunteer group that worked with the Fire Department. We went home to home checking on the use of generators. Improperly positioned generators resulted in levels of 35 and 50 ppm at two homes. In both of those cases, fumes could be easily smelled. No symptoms were reported.

... or, there was CO on the plane and the low cabin pressure aggravated the effects of the CO poisoning.
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Old 11th Jul 2016, 12:40
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What makes me suspicious of the CO diagnosis is the method of recovery. Normally, the patients would be given oxygen to breath and that would reduce their CO levels by 50% every 80 minutes. Walking around in fresh air (as is reported) reduces CO levels (actually, the COHb level) by 50% every 320 minutes (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon...ning#Treatment).
My father started with Northwest Orient in 1968.

He told me a tale: in the old days, a crew flew overseas, and then rode in an ancient vehicle to the hotel. The vehicle had an exhaust leak in the passenger compartment.

Everyone decided to go out and drink except the captain. He went upstairs and went to bed. The captain died from carbon monoxide poisoning. The rest of the crew stayed up long enough to safely get the CO out of their system.

The moral of the story: you have to go at least get one drink when you arrive at the hotel. You never know if you've been poisoned.....
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