Entire Plane Quarantined in New York City After Mysterious Illness Breaks Out Among Passengers


John F. Kennedy International Airport was the site of a quarantined commercial jet early Wednesday, according to news reports.

The Airbus A388, operated by Emirates and arriving in New York from Dubai, had about 500 passengers on board.

An airline statement suggested about 10 individuals became ill while in the air. Some early reports suggested the number of affected passengers might have been 10 times higher.

“Emirates can confirm that about 10 passengers on board flight EK203 from Dubai to New York were taken ill,” said a company spokesperson.

She described the resulting quarantine as a precautionary measure, adding that passengers “were immediately checked by local health authorities and those needing medical attention will be attended to.”

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WNBC reported that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was spotted at the airport along with Port Authority police officers. Authorities declined the news station’s requests for comment.

Though all passengers remained aboard at the time of the Emirates spokesperson’s statement, she indicated that those not affected by the as-yet unidentified illness would be able to deplane shortly.

One man who told Reuters reporters that he was among the passengers on the quarantined craft said they have little more information than those watching the situation develop from the outside.

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“All we have been told is that there are some sick passengers and that we need to remain on board,” Larry Cohen wrote in a statement to the news organization.

About two hours after the landing, a statement from the office of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed that about half of the passengers remained on the plane.

One passenger told local reporters that apparent symptoms of the illnesses began before the plane boarded in Dubai.

“When they were standing in line to board, people were coughing,” said Erin Sykes.

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She added that many of the passengers “were not covering their mouths” when the coughed, leading her to take whatever precautions she could during the flight.

“I proceeded to put my jacket and the blanket over my head for the entirety of the flight because so many people were coughing, and so dramatically,” she said.

According to Sykes, passengers also complained of stomach maladies.

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Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a wide range of newsrooms.
Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a variety of newsroom settings. After covering crime and other beats for newspapers and radio stations across the U.S., he served as managing editor at Western Journalism until 2017. He has also been a regular guest and guest host on several syndicated radio programs. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife and son.
Texas Press Association, Best News Writing - 2012
Bachelor of Arts, Journalism - Averett University
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