San Jose

Unknown Substance on Alaska Airlines Flight to San Jose Causes Crew to Fall Ill

Material believed to be de-icing residue sickens three flight attendants on Flight 322 from Seattle

Emergency crews and a hazmat team responded to Mineta San Jose International Airport on Thursday night after three flight attendants fell ill aboard an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle, according to airport and airline officials.

One of the attendants was transported to a hospital, and the other two were treated and released at the scene, officials said. No passengers were affected.

Hazmat crews' initial evaluation indicates they believe de-icing material caused the illnesses, according to Ann Vaninovich, spokeswoman for Alaska Airlines. She said the material, which was determined to be residue left over from de-icing the outside of the plane, is nontoxic. 

The airline said during the flight a crew member seated in the front galley noticed a light white powder coming out of a ceiling vent. Two of the crew seated in the area reported not feeling well. Pilots radioed ahead for medics to stage at the San Jose airport.

Alaska Flight 322 arrived in San Jose at 6:45 p.m., and emergency crews including the San Jose fire and police departments responded to the tarmac at Gate 26, airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes said.

Passengers said it made for a tense few moments.

"There was an announcement, and they were like 'Oh, don't panic, but there might be some anti-freeze in the air,' and they were going to bring on paramedics to check it out and make sure everything was OK," passenger Anna Stensland said.

All 181 passengers were held on the plane for about 45 minutes while emergency crews assessed the situation, Barnes said. There were no impacts to the airport's operation.

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