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Apparent diarrhea incident forces Delta flight to Barcelona to turn back


A Delta Air Lines flight headed to Barcelona, Spain, on Friday was forced to turn around after a passenger had a medical issue that created an apparent “biohazard” situation.

A spokesperson for the airline acknowledged the incident in a statement Tuesday night.

“Delta flight 194 on Sept. 1 from Atlanta to Barcelona returned to Atlanta following an onboard medical issue,” the statement said. “Our teams worked as quickly and as safely as possible to get our customers to their final destinations. We sincerely apologize to our customers for the delay and inconvenience to their travel plans.”

Audio posted on and shared by a user on X, formerly Twitter, who said the audio came from the flight, captured an exchange between a pilot and air traffic control personnel.

“This is a biohazard issue,” a voice says on the recording. “We’ve had a passenger who had diarrhea all the way through the airplane, so they want us to come back to Atlanta.”

According to the flight-tracking site FlightAware, the Airbus A350 returned to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport about two hours after its departure.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.