Mystery Illness Shuts Melbourne Airport Terminal

One of Australia's main airport terminals has been shut after 53 people suffered nausea, vomiting, dizziness and respiratory problems, but officials said they could not find the cause of the illnesses.

Mystery Illness Shuts Melbourne Airport Terminal

One of Australia's main airport terminals has been shut after 53 people suffered nausea, vomiting, dizziness and respiratory problems, but officials said they could not find the cause of the illnesses.

Forty-five people were taken to hospital and hundreds of travellers left stranded when the Virgin Blue domestic terminal in Melbourne was evacuated on Monday. The Formula One Championship kicks off on March 6 and teams and personnel are expected to start arriving as early as this weekeend.

"Our rescue and fire units evacuated the terminal when several people exhibited similar symptoms," said a spokesman for Airservices Australia. "What is causing it is simply not known."

Ambulance officials said 53 people fell ill at the terminal and 45 were taken to a hospital decontamination unit. Thirty-five people have since been released from hospital.

Paramedics dressed in head-to-toe protective clothing treated people in a field hospital outside the terminal. Most of the sick were airport workers.

Airport officials initially said they believed the cause of the illnesses could be a chemical leak, but fire brigades searched the terminal and found no source for the illnesses.

"We have not found anything. We checked all areas - the baggage, food preparation, passenger and baggage handling where you would think a chemical might be found," said a fire official.

All departing Virgin Blue flights were cancelled, while arriving flights were offloaded on the tarmac and passengers bussed to another terminal. The nearby Qantas domestic terminal and the international terminal were both operating normally.

Authorities reopened the Virgin Blue terminal in the early evening, allowing the budget carrier to resume flights into and out of Australia's second-biggest city.

"We're trying to move as many people as we can tonight," Virgin Blue spokeswoman Amanda Bolger said.

The cause of the leak, however, remained a mystery.

"The source has not been located or identified," the Australian Associated Press quoted a fire brigade spokesman as saying. "All (chemical detection) readings are showing zero," the spokesman said.

shares
comments
Sauber Join GPWC Series Plans

Previous article

Sauber Join GPWC Series Plans

Next article

McLaren Duo Quickest at Valencia - Day One

McLaren Duo Quickest at Valencia - Day One
Load comments
The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory Plus

The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon at the returning Circuit of the Americas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement Plus

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man ANTHONY PEACOCK explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it)

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Plus

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Plus

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021