SAN JOSE, Calif. - First responders raced to the tarmac at Mineta San Jose International Airport Thursday after flight attendants on an Alaska Airlines plane got sick. Officials from the airline say the substance is believed to be residue from deicing, and that the materials are non-toxic.
A large emergency response met Alaska flight 322 from Seattle. The San Jose fire department got the call about an inbound plane with a problem just before 6:30 p.m. Officials say the plane has been taken out of service.
"We believed it to be a hazardous materials incident because there were some flight crew members who were feeling ill on board the aircraft," said Mitch Matlow of the SJFD.
Three flight attendants reported having symptoms in flight. One was taken to the hospital.
"One of them was talking about, he felt for ten minutes, he felt like his chest, something was wrong with him for ten minutes," said passenger Dean Bettis. "He felt woozy or something like that."
The fire department, Alaska Airlines and the airport are working together to determine what made the attendants sick.
"At this moment, we still don't know what the material was that the flight crew was exposed to, but apparently the exposure took place before passengers got on board," said Matlow.
The official cause may be under investigation, but passengers told ABC7 News the pilot made an announcement, offering an explanation.
Glynn, a passenger who wanted to be identified only by his first name, said, "The deicing fluid they put on in Seattle created some kind of powder that got in the air system. They were checking it out."
None of the 181 passengers on board reported getting sick.