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‘Firefighters with respirators in the aisles’

British Airways Flight BA286 was forced to change course after a mid-flight emergency. Picture: Twitter/@kenters55

THE PILOTS and crew of a British Airways jet have been rushed to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation after an emergency during the flight.

At least 22 cabin crew and three pilots were admitted to hospital for checks after flight BA286 diverted from San Francisco to London late on Monday night, The Sun reports.

Laura Kohli, a spokeswoman for Vancouver Coastal Health hospitals, told CBC News all those taken to hospital were treated for smoke inhalation.

Ten of those were admitted to Richmond Hospital, another 10 went to Vancouver General Hospital and the remaining five to Delta Hospital.

Pictures posted to social media show the plane surrounded by emergency vehicles on the tarmac.

Passenger Steve Lowy, 35, was on board the flight for the return leg of a business trip to San Francisco.

“It’s an A380 so I was on the top deck. I was having dinner and they didn’t even offer tea or coffee and I thought this is a bit odd,” he said.

“Then they said there was an issue with some crew members not feeling very well, we’re landing in Calgary … but they couldn’t land in Calgary so they said we’re going to Vancouver.”

He continued: “No-one was really saying anything and it was all a bit odd. When we landed there were fire engines, paramedics on the ground.

“We could see it all from the top deck. I’m not quite sure what was going on, a lot of the cabin crew had their ties undone but even the police and everyone just looked very confused.”

Passenger Liz Keller tweeted: “Passengers on #BA286 pretty much totally in the dark about what happened on board or what comes next.”

She also wrote: “Not reassuring to see firefighters with respirators walking aisles and only be told the crew was taken ill.

“And have been told we need to book our own return flights #ba286. 2 people making hotel bookings for a full A380.”

British Airways says no passengers were taken to hospital, though two were seen by medics as a precaution.

In a statement, British Airways said: “We are sorry for the delay to our customers’ flight but the safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew is always our top priority. The flight from San Francisco diverted to Vancouver after members of the cabin crew became unwell.

“Our ground team at Vancouver has arranged hotel accommodation for the customers and will book them on alternative flights as soon as possible.”

British Airways has said the crew and pilots have now been discharged and an investigation is underway.

This story originally appeared in The Sun and has been republished here with permission.