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.”
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.
Queens: JFK Airport, Emirates flight 203 from Dubai was heading towards NY landed after 100 passengers feeling sick aboard the plane, FDNY & hazmat on scene investigating.
— NYC Scanner (@NYScanner) September 5, 2018
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.
“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.
Survived!!! So scary. Told many many people including the crew members in Econ get very ill all taken to hospital and many remained in the plane quarantined! #JFK evacuated for our arrival. All customs having mask except us! pic.twitter.com/rrIGWDUvx5
— CameliaEntekhabifard (@CameliaFard) September 5, 2018
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.
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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