By DANIEL BARBARISI
Journal staff writer


WARWICK -- Ten people aboard an American Airlines flight were taken to the hospital this morning after a faulty heater apparently released carbon monoxide into the plane's cabin before takeoff from T.F. Green Airport.

The five passengers and five crew members were all treated and released, according to Warwick Fire Chief Jack Chartier. Another 20 people were treated by rescue workers at the airport, Chartier said.

In an earlier report, an official had estimated that 15 were taken to area hospitals.

Flight 1347 was scheduled to depart Green for Chicago at 9:28 a.m. But the plane was brought back to the terminal after the crew and passengers detected a diesel fuel-like odor, said Jackie Young, a spokeswoman for American Airlines. Some complained of feeling light-headed.

Tests detected high levels of carbon monoxide, a poisonous and flammable gas, inside the plane, according to Chartier.

Preliminary reports indicate that a faulty heater sent the carbon monoxide into the cabin, according to Michael Cheston, executive director of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, which runs the airport.

The flight had 107 passengers and five crew members aboard the McDonnell Douglas Super 80.

American Airlines brought another plane to Green to bring the passengers to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. It departed from Green at about 2:40 p.m.

Fourteen ambulances from Warwick, West Warwick, Coventry and North Kingstown responded to the airport emergency. The departments also sent fire trucks.

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According to Chief Chartier, when the flight crew began venting the cabin when it became clear that there was a problem. By the time the plane returned to the gate and Warwick Fire boarded the plane with gas detection equipment, the CO level was 10.