PASSENGERS were caught in a “brawl” at Heathrow Airport after they were evacuated off a British Airways flight which sparked security alerts amid fears of a “mid-air chemical incident”.
The BA876 flight from Budapest landed shortly after 7pm on Thursday evening and passengers were reportedly taken from the plane and “detained” at Heathrow Gate 26.
A British Airways spokesman said: “Our aircraft requested a priority landing as a precaution after experiencing a minor technical issue.
Following protocol a hazardous response team (HART) was sent to the scene by the London Ambulance Service, the police and fire brigade also attended.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: “Police at Heathrow Airport were called to an inbound flight from Budapest at 1939hrs on Thursday, 7 November following reports of an issue on the plane
A London Ambulance spokesperson said: “We were called at 6:55pm today to reports of an incident at Heathrow Airport, Hounslow.
“We dispatched an ambulance crew, two incident response officers and our hazardous area response team to the scene.
“We assessed five people at the scene but did not take anyone to hospital.”
Tension between passengers and ground staff grew as, according to the passengers, they were detained and “physically checked” but no information was provided about the incident and it’s been reported that a fight broke out between passengers and ground staff.
Geraldine Fusciardi, who was one of the other passengers detained, told local press: ‘We were locked in the room for about 40 minutes. One woman collapsed in distress just as they were letting us out. No apology.
‘Five minutes after they told us it was a major incident and physically prevented people from leaving the room – including some distressed women who needed the toilet – they released us all with some vague comments about engineering issue on plane.’
A BA spokesperson later informed:
“The fault or smell reported on the aircraft is believed to be related to a mechanical issue.”
“Our teams looked after our customers and helped get them on their way as soon as possible. We are sorry to our customers for the delay to their travel plans.”
“Officers, London Ambulance Service and London Fire Brigade attended. There were no reported injuries.
“None of those on board required medical attention from LAS. There are no reported offences or matters for police attention.”