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At least 19 sick on quarantined Emirates flight from Dubai to JFK Airport - Metro US

At least 19 sick on quarantined Emirates flight from Dubai to JFK Airport

Passenger Larry Coben shared this photo of emergency crews and health officials awaiting Emirates Flight 203 on a runway at JFK Airport after several passengers reported feeling ill during the flight. (Twitter/Larry Coben)
Passenger Larry Coben shared this photo of emergency crews and health officials awaiting Emirates Flight 203 on a runway at JFK Airport after several passengers reported feeling ill during the flight. (Twitter/Larry Coben)

An Emirates plane from Dubai was greeted by emergency crews and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention upon landing at JFK Airport Wednesday morning after several passengers reported feeling ill during the flight, officials said. 

At least 19 of the more than 500 passengers on Emirates Flight 203 fell sick during the trip, and 10 of them were taken to area hospitals, said Raul Contreras, a spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The other nine passengers declined treatment after undergoing “additional medical screening at the site near the aircraft and were released afterwards,” a spokeswoman of Dubai-based Emirates told Reuters. “The rest of the passengers were allowed to leave and clear customs.”

According to the CDC, about 100 passengers on Flight 203 to JFK Airport said their symptoms included cough and fever. The Emirates plane is being evaluated by emergency officials, said Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees the airport.

While it is still unknown what caused the passengers to become ill on Emirates Flight 203 to JFK Airport, the mayor’s press secretary Eric Phillips said in a tweet that “symptoms still pointing to the flu.” Flight 203 originated in Dubai, but some of the sick passengers were from Mecca, “which is experiencing a flu outbreak,” Phillips tweeted earlier.

Passenger details Flight 203 quarantine at JFK Airport 

Passenger Larry Coben chronicled his experience on Emirates Flight 203 as the plane was quarantined at JFK Airport on Twitter. He first shared a photo of the emergency vehicles surrounding the plane, asking “What’s up @emirates?”

In subsequent tweets, Coben wrote, “All we have been told is that some passengers have fallen ill and we should remain in our seats” and that all passengers were asked to fill out a CDC form, with a photo of the form. He also shared an image of some crewmembers deplaning.

Passenger Larry Coben shared this photo of emergency crews and health officials awaiting Emirates Flight 203 on a runway at JFK Airport after several passengers reported feeling ill during the flight. (Twitter/Larry Coben)

Coben later said that CDC personnel was on board and “we will hopefully be deplaning shortly and having our temperatures taken.”

Coben was then allowed to deplane and emergency responders took his temperature before he was able to make his way through customs, where “folks wore masks in empty hall when we came through, CDC people did not.”

Emirates comments on JFK Airport quarantine

In a tweet around 10:20 a.m., Emirates issued a statement:

“Emirates can confirm 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.”

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