Alaska Airlines crewmembers sickened during flight

A de-icing chemical known as glycol is thought to be responsible for a hazardous materials incident that sent a flight crew member to a hospital Thursday evening on a plane that landed at Mineta San Jose International Airport, according to airline officials.

Flight attendants in a front galley on Alaska Airlines Flight 322 saw a light powdery substance coming out of a vent in the ceiling. Two of them said they didn’t feel well and requested medics meet them after landing, according to Ann Zaninovich, a spokeswoman for Alaska Airlines.

San Jose Fire’s communications center was notified of a problem onboard the flight from Seattle around 6:25 p.m., according to Capt. Mitch Matlow.

The plane landed around 6:45 p.m., but was kept away from the terminal while emergency crews went in to assess the situation.

Three crewmembers had symptoms during the flight, but only one continued to have symptoms afterward and that individual was taken to a hospital.

Matlow said:

“Our hazardous materials team determined it was safe to return the aircraft to the airline without doing any decontamination.”

None of the passengers were affected, according to Matlow.

The airline is working diligently to identify the material that caused the incident, Matlow said. They’ve hired a private firm to investigate and resolve the situation.

Matlow said:

“They’re being very cooperative with the fire department and airport management to determine what the material or materials were. … At this point it’s unknown, we’ve received too many conflicting reports from people on the aircraft to say what actually happened so we’re still working identify it.”

Passengers were allowed to exit the aircraft by about 7:45 p.m., according to airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes.

Further questions were referred to Alaska Airlines. A spokesperson for the airline was not immediately available for comment.