Pilots on oxygen as crew report fumes mid-flight before landing at Heathrow

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    Two pilots took on oxygen after a British Airways flight was diverted back to Heathrow Airport minutes after taking off.

    The flight, which was a British Airways a320, set off for Nice before having to return after crew reported "fumes" in the cabin.

    According to Sebastien Mezeret on Twitter, there were "definitely strange smells", and the pilots were given "oxygen masks".

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    He added: "Back to gate, fire dept surrounding but no intervention. Pilots still on oxygen."

    It was also being reported that the airport fire service were waiting to board the aircraft and scan it using gas detectors and thermal imaging cameras – but the Daily Star has not been able to verify this claim.

    The Daily Star has contacted Heathrow Airport for a comment, but a British Airways source said that all passengers would disembark "as normal" with a replacement aircraft being sourced so they could "carry on to their destination".

    A spokesman said: "The aircraft landed normally after returning to Heathrow following reports of a technical issue.

    "The safety of our customers and crew is always our priority.

    "We’re doing everything we can to get customers away as planned on a replacement aircraft this evening – emergency services were on hand as a precautionary measure."

    News of the incident on BA348 was first reported by flight insiders Flight Emergency on social media, before Mr Mezeret confirmed it from onboard the craft.

    He added: "Firemen entered cockpit via air bridge – seems nothing too critical as pax (passengers) still strapped in."

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    According to many flight tracking websites, the flight used the call sign – or squawk code – 7700 shortly after taking off at around 5.22pm.

    It actually departed around seven minutes late, returning to Heathrow shortly after.

    The 7700 code is a general call sign used for any kind of on-board emergency requiring priority landing at a nearby airport.

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