The US Department of Transportation said Thursday it was investigating why passengers on a Delta Air Lines flight sweltered for hours in triple-digit temperatures as the plane waited on the tarmac at a Las Vegas airport on Monday.
The flight, DL555, to Atlanta, was supposed to take off from Harry Reid International Airport on Monday but instead stayed on the runway, where extreme heat made passengers sick and caused some to faint, according to reports posted on social media by those on board.
The ordeal lasted nearly three hours, with paramedics boarding the plane to remove three people who had fallen ill, Krista Garvin, a passenger and producer for Fox News, wrote on Twitter.
“They said press the call button if you need medical assistance,” he said. “Babies are screaming crying. They are handing out sandwiches to diabetics.”
She later added: “I’m just shocked.”
In a clip posted by Ms. Garvin, the captain appears to make an announcement apologizing to those on board for the extreme heat. Eventually, the passengers disembarked because “too many people were sick and they wanted to try to cool the plane down,” Ms Garvin said, noting that the passengers were later told the crew had gotten sick.
another passenger said On Instagram that she had run out of food and diapers for her baby, but despite the heat, he had managed to remain calm. Others reported that Delta had not provided them with water and that the restrooms had been closed.
Delta Air Lines did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday night, but said ABC News was investigating the incident.
“We apologize for the experience our customers had on Flight 555 from Las Vegas to Atlanta on July 17, which ultimately resulted in the cancellation of the flight,” the company said in a statement. “Delta teams are investigating the circumstances that led to uncomfortable temperatures inside the cabin, and we appreciate the efforts of our people and first responders at Harry Reid International.”
Temperatures in Las Vegas reached 114 degrees Monday as much of the country suffered from a heat wave that has broken temperature records in several cities, leaving millions under excessive heat warnings.
According to the Department of Transportation, airlines must provide comfortable cabin temperatures during runway delays.
“I want to know how it was possible for passengers to stay in triple-digit heat on board a plane for so long,” said Pete Buttigieg, transportation secretary. told Reuters on Thursday, noting that the episode had lasted several hours.
“Even in normal temperatures, a runway delay is not supposed to last that long, and we have rules around that, which we are actively enforcing right now,” he said.
mark walker contributed reporting.