Emirates Flight Quarantined at JFK After Several Passengers Fall Sick
Emirates Airlines Flight EK203 from Dubai (DXB) was quarantined Wednesday morning, away from Terminal 4 at New York John F. Kennedy Airport, after dozens of passengers on board reported feeling ill during the flight.
Initial reports said that at least 100 passengers fell ill on the flight with fevers of 100 degrees or more and coughing. That number has since been downgraded, but it remains unclear exactly how many passengers have fallen ill.
The Airbus A380 landed at JFK shortly after 9:00am with 521 people on board, according to ABC Channel 7. The plane did not go to the terminal, docking instead near a hard stand area to meet emergency response teams from the Centers for Disease Control and Port Authority police. CBS reports that only 10 or so passengers were taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center for treatment.
Health officials were checking passengers one by one for symptoms. A row of ambulances met the plane upon arrival.
Eric Phillips, press secretary for NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, stated around 11:00am that about 40 passengers had been cleared in good health and were passing through customs, while several others who were showing symptoms were being held back for possible treatment.
Passengers uploaded video of the travelers' restlessness on board the docked plane, which Phillips erroneously stated had stopped in Mecca on its way from Dubai. Phillips said that Mecca is currently undergoing a flu outbreak, and was a possible cause of the illness.
Emirates Airlines released a statement around 10:30am ET, stating that "about 10 passengers on EK203 from Dubai to New York were taken ill. On arrival, as a precaution, they were attended to by local health authorities. All others will disembark shortly. The safety & care of our customers is our first priority." The airline stated that their own initial investigations suggested that food poisoning was the cause of the outbreak.
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