Passengers at Nashville Airport in Tennessee were in for a smelly shock when hundreds of bags were sprayed with sewage-tainted water Thursday morning.
Bags belonging to about 380 Southwest Airlines passengers were contaminated due to an overflow in the woman’s bathroom near Southwest C-5 concourse. According to reports, this happened because someone had stuffed paper towels in the toilet.
The toilet water and sewage leaked through the floor of the bathroom to the conveyor belt on the floor below, soaking the luggage moving on it.
According to the Daily Mail, officials said around 200 bags that were checked with Southwest Airlines for an early morning flight may have been affected by the sewage leak.
Tom Jurkovich, vice president of communications at Nashville Airport, told News 2 they were not sure about the extent of the contamination, adding no person was exposed to the sewage water.
“You have to act like it is, as a practical matter,” Jurkovich said.
ABC News reported that Southwest Airlines said it had “identified which bags may have been affected” and were “proactively contacting customers, processing bags and reuniting customers with their luggage.”
The airline also said the contaminated bags were being sanitized, and replacement bags were being offered on a case-by-case basis, depending on the extent of the damage caused to the bags.
However, the airline said the leak did not cause any delays to scheduled flights. Some passengers also decided to travel without their soaked baggage.
One passenger on the flight, Kate Riley, told News 2, that some people did not know their luggage was missing until they went to claim their baggage at their destination in Florida.
“We were in Nashville, and they came on right before we boarded and said, ‘Oh, we’re having some issues with the luggage. Don’t worry. We’re getting all the bags on; there’s just an issue. But we’re just gonna load up and we’re gonna take off,’” she recalled officials from the airline as saying.
According to reports, this is not the first time that an incident like this has happened at the airport. There was another sewage leak June 1 but no luggage was contaminated at the time.
A similar incident was reported in 2010 at Heathrow Airport in London, when a waste pipe burst spraying about 240 bags with human waste. One witness said: “Gallons of raw sewage came spewing out. The…