01/09/2012 08:38 am ET

British Airways Pilots Fall Ill At Same Time, Force Emergency Landing

A British Airways flight was forced to make an emergency landing after both pilots fell ill in the cockpit.

The plane, en route from London's Heathrow airport to Glasgow, was roughly 15 minutes into the flight (hovering around 20,000 feet) when a "panicked" captain called for a senior member of the cabin crew to come to the cockpit "immediately," the Daily Mail reports.

One flight attendant was seen carrying an oxygen tank into the cockpit as worried passengers looked on. One passenger told the paper: "A lot of stewards were moving about. You could tell they had a lot on their plate, with this happening so soon into the flight."

Passengers were told, however, that the plane was returning to Heathrow due to a technical issue, the Telegraph reports. Meanwhile, passengers were given oxygen masks as the plane returned to the airport.

Upon arriving back at Heathrow, the pilots were tended to by paramedics. A 40-year-old businessman told the Daily Mail, "That moment was very alarming, and I travel by air all the time. I take my hat off to the stewards for being so calm and collected. They did a fantastic job. Most people on the flight got on the next one straight afterwards. Of course, about 90 per cent still thought we had returned because of a technical fault."

In a statement, British Airways said that the pilots had become "unwell" and followed procedures properly. "The pilots reported feeling light headed so, as a precaution and following normal procedure, put on their oxygen masks. Our pilots are highly trained to deal with such circumstances. The aircraft landed safely and customers continued their journey after a short delay."