Sick Searchers Update - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

03/06/03 - Hemphill

Sick Searchers Update

Columbia searches in Hemphill who became ill earlier this week have been told their illness is *not* shuttle related.

An Environmental Protection Agency spokesman says the odor that may have caused an illness could have come from rotting wood and other forest plant life. Foresters often refer to it as swamp gas.

[super=pat hammack / epa on-scene coordinator]

"That added to long hours and a little bit of stress cold have triggered this," says Pat Hammack, an EPA On-Scene Coordinator. "We don't know is what it comes down to, but we're all guessing at it. The nice part of it is we have determined that the people have not been injured and were not exposed to anything related to the shuttle."

All kinds of tests, including an airplane that monitored the atmosphere, could not determine the exact cause of the odor. All of the searchers have now returned to work.

Powered by Frankly