4 passengers on BWI flight stricken; one hospitalized

A Southwest Airlines flight from Houston made an emergency landing at Baltimore-Washington International Airport last night after one passenger's illness spread to at least three others, prompting ambulances from two counties to rush to the scene.

In the end, one female passenger was taken to North Arundel Hospital for treatment of severe nausea. Authorities said her illness was not life-threatening. She was in good condition, said hospital spokeswoman Kathy McCollum.


The passenger, whose name was not released, vomited about 30 minutes before Flight 1283 landed at BWI, said airport spokeswoman Cheryl Stewart, which prompted three other passengers to become nauseated.

The female passenger was given oxygen on the plane by crew members, other passengers reported.


When the plane landed at 10:45 p.m., emergency personnel went aboard and found nothing wrong with the ventilation system, Stewart said.

All passengers walked off the plane, according to witnesses. About 125 passengers were aboard the Boeing 737.

"It was no big deal," said Jim Brown, 48, of Austin, Texas, who was sitting in the middle of the plane.

The only signal most passengers had of anything amiss before the rapid landing came when a crew member asked if a doctor was aboard.

John Bennett of Phoenix, Md., said he saw Washington, D.C., out the plane's window, "and 10 minutes later we're landing at BWI."

Alia Hussain of New Mexico said she was sitting near the woman who became ill and moved to the rear of the plane. "I could smell it," she said.

Amid initial reports of as many as 12 passengers being ill on board, the Anne Arundel County Fire Department dispatched four ambulances to the airport to assist airport emergency personnel, said spokesman Capt. Michael Cox. Four ambulances from Baltimore County fire stations also were dispatched to the airport.

Sun staff writers Ryan Davis and Lynn Anderson contributed to this article.