An American Airlines flight to New York was forced to make an emergency stop after a pepper spray can “inadvertently” went off in the cabin.
Flight 1680 had taken off from Miami just before 5pm on Sunday bound for New York’s LaGuardia Airport when it was diverted to Jacksonville International Airport about 30 minutes into the flight.
The aircraft was cleaned and allowed to continue to LaGuardia, the Federal Administration (FAA) told The Independent in a statement.
“American Airlines Flight 1680, a Boeing 737, diverted to Jacksonville International Airport in Florida around 6.30pm local time Sunday, Aug. 20, after a bottle of pepper spray was inadvertently sprayed in the cabin,” the FAA said.
“The aircraft was cleaned after diverting and continued to LaGuardia Airport in New York without further incident.”
The FAA said it would be investigating the incident.
According to someone who said they were on the flight, passengers in the back of the aircraft began coughing after the canister went off about 30 minutes into the flight.
“It was incredibly scary not being able to breathe, having burning skin/eyes, having everyone panicking around, and being stuck in a small space,” another passenger wrote on Reddit.
“We also didn’t get a lot of direction on how to take care of ourselves once we were off the plane.
“Activating a pepper spray container takes intention. The suspects are either ignorant and don’t understand pepper spray.”
A family of two adults and two children were escorted off the flight at Jacksonville, according to passengers.
The Independent has attempted to reach the passengers for further information.
American Airlines did not immediately respond to a request for comment.