Delta’s sick passengers had elevated carbon monoxide levels

Several passengers on a diverted Delta flight from Atlanta to Denver showed elevated levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, according to emergency officials.

The crew of flight 1817 diverted the MD-90 to Tulsa International Airport on Saturday after several of the 152 passengers showed signs of sickness.

Twelve people who “had low level exposure,” Tulsa Fire Department spokesman Stan Man told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Sunday morning.

“Within a few minutes of getting them into fresh air, the levels in their bloodstream started coming back down to normal.”

Affected passengers were drowsy and nauseous, he said.

Fire crews weren’t able to pinpoint the source of the carbon monoxide.

“We couldn’t tell if it was coming from the operation of the airplane,” May said. “It could have been something brought on the plane. It could have been something brought into the cargo area that had leaked.”

May said he couldn’t recall another local incident of carbon monoxide illness on a commercial aircraft.

Another aircraft was later used to continue the Delta flight to Denver.

The airline released a statement Sunday morning saying, “Technicians continue to assess the original MD-90 out of an abundance of caution.”

Passenger Mel Gilles told the Tulsa World that a flight attendant became ill and said “I feel like somebody slipped me kryptonite.”

“At the same moment, about six people around me began to feel ill,” Gilles said.

Others showed sickness elsewhere on the plane.

The crew, Delta said, “elected to divert to Tulsa when a few customers reported feeling ill. The safety and security of our customers is our top priority.”

One person was transported to a Tulsa hospital, but it wasn’t related to the other passengers’ illnesses, May said.