Several Lufthansa flight attendants permanently unfit to fly after fume events

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In 2016, two separate fume accidents caused serious health issues with several Lufthansa flight attendants. The symptoms were so bad that they were permanently declared unfit to fly. Worse, the German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation (BFU, Bundesstelle für Flugunfalluntersuchungen) didn’t open an investigation even with the added health data and medical assessments. Simon Hradecky, an expert in aviation safety, wrote an in-depth report on both accidents in The Aviation Herald

The first fume accident occurred on a Lufthansa A340-600 on 11 January 2016: fumes were noticed on board, followed by a number of flight attendants reporting feeling unwell with dizziness, headache, eye and throat irritation.

Another event happened on a Lufthansa Airbus A319 between Paris and Frankfurt on 5 August 2016 on which, during the flight, all flight attendants were increasingly feeling unwell. The aircraft, however, continued to Frankfurt where, upon descend, the fumes became stronger, and all flight attendants became seriously ill. All cabin crew were taken to a hospital after the flight.

On 27 January 2017, one of the flight attendants was diagnosed permanently unfit to fly with the following symptoms:

  • respiratory insufficiency (J96.09G)
  • illness of respiratory organs caused by chemical substances/gasses/smoke (J68.9G)
  • Small fibre neuropathy (G62.88G)
  • minor cognitive disturbance (F06.7G)
  • irritable bowel syndrome (K58.9G)
  • toxic effect of organic solvents (T52.9G)
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (F43.1G)

In-depth analysis of the two accidents, as reported by The Aviation Herald:

Study reveals permanent brain damage among pilots and cabin crew

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