At least four passengers fainted on a Corendon Airlines flight from Cologne to Rhodes, overwhelming the crew. The circumstances leading to the successive collapses seem related to a ventilation failure.
The incident occurred onboard a Corendon Airlines Europe Boeing 737-800 (Malta registration 9H-TJE) travelling as flight XR1050 from Cologne/Bonn (CGN) to Rhodes (RHO) on 25 October 2021 with 180 passengers and 6 crew.
According to the Aviation Herald, the trouble began after the flight levelled off at FL370 after its climb. A woman stepped out of the aft toilet, then collapsed. She was “completely pale, unconscious and trembling from head to foot.” Moments later a man collapsed nearby.
A doctor and nurse onboard began treating the patients before two additional travellers started to collapse. The woman was unconscious for 20-30 minutes, but all began to recover “after the cabin air conditioning had been reconfigured.” At one point, the doctor asked for a defibrillator but was told there was none on board. According to his report, he then made use of the onboard medical kit.
The aircraft continued to Rhodes and landed safely on schedule, then returned 85 minutes later. It remains in service.
The Aviation Herald reports that passengers noted the strong smell of exhaust when boarding. This can happen when aircraft are not connected to an auxiliary power unit (APU) at the gate.
While a ventilation failure seems to be the likely culprit for the multiple faintings, Corendon Airlines issued a very defensive statement downplaying that possibility:
“Only four passengers felt unwell. Cabin Crew immediately took necessary actions for those 4 passengers in compliance with Cabin First Aid Procedure during flight. A doctor and a nurse were on the aircraft and made promptly medical intervention to the passengers feeling unwell but they could not found any serious symptoms. The doctor did not recommend the crew to divert and he did not use aircraft medical kit which was made available for him during his assistance.
We also would like to inform you that after the relevant occurrence; maintenance records, recorded parameters of subject flight thru FDM (flight data monitoring), and crew reports etc. have been analyzed by our maintenance and safety departments and no abnormal parameter which might cause the occurrence has been found. On the return flight of same aircraft from Rhodes to Cologne (CXI-1051) with 184 pax, no similar complaint has been received.”
That account differs from a medical report examined by the Aviation Herald which noted the doctor did use the aircraft medical kit.