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Officials: Fumes sicken passengers on Long Island MacArthur Airport flight

Frontier Airlines Flight 1851 declared an emergency after departing Long Island for Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and returned to MacArthur, the FAA said.

A Frontier Airlines flight with 218 people aboard

A Frontier Airlines flight with 218 people aboard declared an emergency and returned to Long Island MacArthur Airport because of an odor that wound up sickening some on board, officials said on Thursday. Photo Credit: On Scene Photography Inc./Christopher Sabella

A Frontier Airlines flight with 218 people aboard declared an emergency and returned to Long Island MacArthur Airport because of an odor that wound up sickening some on board, officials said on Thursday.

“There was no smoke and the aircraft landed safely," Frontier Airlines said in a statement.

Jamie Atkinson of the Sayville-based Community Ambulance Company, which services the airport, said five passengers were transported to Long Island Medical Center in Patchogue, and another 15 were evaluated or treated at the scene but declined to be taken to a hospital.

He said he was unable to specify what their symptoms were.

Earlier in the day, Frontier had said that one member of the Flight 1851 crew and two passengers were transported for medical evaluations. 

The Federal Aviation Administration and a spokeswoman for the Town of Islip, which owns the airport, described the problem as fumes.

“The flight crew declared an emergency due to a report of fumes in the cockpit after it departed the airport for Myrtle Beach” in South Carolina, an FAA spokesman said by email. He added his agency will investigate the problem that arose with the Airbus 321.

Frontier said the flight "returned to its origin shortly following departure after an odor was detected in the cabin."

The fumes were reported to the control tower at 12:13 p.m. after the aircraft took off from MacArthur, Islip spokeswoman Caroline Smith said. The plane departed at 11:53 a.m. and landed back at MacArthur at 12:27 p.m., according to flightware.com, which tracks flights.

The airline said the flight was canceled for maintenance checks, passengers were given vouchers for future trips and assisted with making arrangements to continue their journeys.

“Safety is the top priority at Frontier, and the flight returned out of an abundance of caution,” it said.

With Zachary R. Dowdy

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