9 Teens Returning to L.A. From Guatemala Charity Trip Sickened Aboard Flight

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Paramedics responded to a Delta Air Lines flight arriving from Guatemala City at LAX on Wednesday morning after nine students from a Westlake Village school became ill aboard a plane coming into Terminal 5.


Ambulances and airport police patrol cars were responding to Terminal 5 after teens were sick aboard a flight at LAX on Feb. 19, 2014. (Credit: KTLA)

Nine teenagers traveling together experienced vomiting and nausea on the plane, according to Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department. The symptoms were mild to moderate and not life threatening, he said.

The teens were aboard Delta Air Lines flight 1392 from Guatemala City, according to airport spokesman Marshall Lowe.

The teens are students at Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village and were on a trip to perform charity work at an orphanage in Guatemala, parents at the airport told KTLA. Two to three dozen students were on the plane, parents said.

Students at the private Christian school do regular missionary work in Guatemala, according to its website.

“All the children and the parents knew the risk that they could get sick,” parent Karen Buckley said. “Between the getting sick to their stomach, or getting lice from visiting the children’s orphanage, or bed bugs, they still wanted to do this. Their hearts were open to wanting to reach out to the kids that were less fortunate than them.”

Delta Air Lines spokesman Morgan Durrant said the plane’s flight crew had requested the medical response upon routine arrival “after a small group of customers requested medical assistance.”


Students at Oaks Christian School were greeted by news cameras after leaving the plane. (Credit: KTLA)

“Delta’s understanding is this small group of customers had fallen ill prior to boarding the flight in Guatemala City. No other illness has been reported by other customers,” Durrant wrote in an emailed statement.

The teenagers had all consumed the same food, possibly fruit, before the flight, Humphrey said. Parents said they believed the students had eaten food from the same fruit stand.

The incident was reported to the Fire Department about 11:15 a.m.

The teens were to be released to parents at the airport or taken by bus to an area hospital, Humphrey said. No patients had been transported via ambulance as of about 11:45 a.m., he said.

Aerial video showed ambulances and police patrol cars responding to a Delta Air Lines plane.

KTLA’s Sara Welch and Jennifer Thang contributed to this article.

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