x

Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Emirates Dubai to New York flight: 11 passengers and crew taken ill

All other passengers on board were released and cleared customs after A380 jet was isolated at JFK airport

Eleven passengers and crew were treated for flu after landing at New York's JFK airport.
Eleven passengers and crew were treated for flu after landing at New York's JFK airport.

An Emirates Airline flight from Dubai was kept isolated at John F Kennedy Airport in New York on Wednesday after reports that a number of passengers on board were sick.

Three passengers and seven crew members on flight EK203 were initially transferred to hospital for evaluation and further medical treatment, Emirates said in a statement.

All of the passengers were screened by the local health authorities prior to disembarkation, with nine requiring additional medical screening, but were later released.

The passengers who were cleared were allowed to leave later on Wednesday and passed through customs.

"Our crew and on-ground staff extended our full co-operation with the authorities during the on board screenings and the aircraft has now been handed back to Emirates," the statement said.

"We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused. The safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew is always our top priority."

The flight was travelling from Dubai to New York and landed at 09:00 local time when a number of passengers were reportedly taken ill.

Erin Sykes, a passenger from New York who was traveling on the flight, told The National that people on the flight "were coughing and were sick to their stomachs".

"Most were sick well before the flight took off. It was obvious some people should never had been allowed to board. They were coughing and not covering their mouths, and the hygiene was really bad. Then other passengers started to get sick."

A passenger gets her temperature taken as she leaves an Emirates airplane New York's John F. Kennedy Airport amid reports of sick passengers on board a flight from Dubai to the US. AP
A passenger gets her temperature taken as she leaves an Emirates airplane New York's John F. Kennedy Airport amid reports of sick passengers on board a flight from Dubai to the US. AP

Ms Sykes said that there had been no announcements about what was happening.

She also said that passengers had their temperature checked as they exited the plane.

Archaeologist Larry Coben, who was also traveling on the flight, said on Twitter that the flight was met by a number of ambulances and police cars on the ground.

They were then told that some people had been taken ill before being asked to fill in a CDC passenger information form.

American rapper Vanilla Ice was also on the plane, and live-tweeted his experiences, posting video of the police and emergency services on the ground:

Emirates were expecting a three-hour delay to the returning flight as a result of the incident.

Original reports had suggested that as many as 100 passengers said that they were feeling ill, which was echoed by passengers on board the flight.

The US Centre for Disease Control said that 11 people in total have now been treated in hospital.

The health body is urging all other passengers to request medical support should they develop symptoms.

In a statement released to The National, the US Centre for Disease Control said: "CDC is aware of an Emirates flight from Dubai that arrived at JFK. Approximately 100 passengers, including some crew on the flight, complained of illness including coughs and some with fever.

"CDC was alerted to an Emirates flight from Dubai that arrived at JFK airport with passengers, including crew members, complaining of illness including cough, fever, and symptoms of gastrointestinal illness. CDC public health officers, working with port authority, NYC, NYS, EMS, and CBP officials, have completed health evaluations (including taking temperatures) of all 549 passengers and crew members on board.

"11 individuals have been taken to a local hospital for care and the remaining passengers have been released. We are requesting the passengers who have been evaluated and released to call their provider and health department if they develop any symptoms, and to give their travel history and report of incident. They may receive a follow-up call from their health department just as a check-in."