A Lufthansa Airbus A321-200, registration D-AISE performing flight LH-88 from Frankfurt to Dusseldorf (Germany), was on approach to Dusseldorf’s runway 05R just moments before the gear was extended, when a smell of “old socks”, “sweaty feet” and “old nappies” was noticed by the occupants in the cabin, the passengers closed their air conditioning outlets in a hurry, all flight attendants observed the odour, too, there was no odour in the cockpit however. The aircraft continued for a safe landing about 2-3 minutes later.
After passengers had disembarked, one of the flight attendant noticed tingling arms and fingers and felt dizzy. The flight attendant went to see the doctor, while the rest of the crew did not suffer from symptoms and did not see the doctor.
The doctor diagnosed that the capacity to uptake oxygen by the flight attendant had been grossly reduced and immediately certified the flight attendant was unfit to work. Blood and urine samples were taken and dispatched to the University of Göttingen for further analysis. Göttingen reported subsequently, that a number of solvents including n-Heptan, n-Octan, n-Hexan, Isohexan, and n-Decan were found in the samples, in a special note Göttingen also pointed out Acetone measured in unusual concentration in the blood samples taken on Apr 4th 2016, a review of the patient’s oxygen diffusion capacity on May 4th 2016 still showed substantial degradation though with improving tendency, an estimate of how long the sick leave would be necessary could not be made for medical reasons. The flight attendant is still on sick leave.
Germany’s BFU told The Aviation Herald on Jun 6th 2016, that they have been informed about the occurrence, the occurrence is currently rated an incident though a final classification (e.g. as serious incident or accident) has not yet been made.
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