With the recent Ebola scare as a backdrop, emergency crews in hazmat gear were on scene at Boston Logan International Airport Monday afternoon after an Air Emirates flight carrying five sick people landed there.
Air flight 237, a Boeing 777, landed at Logan's terminal E between 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Photographs taken at the scene showed several emergency vehicles gathered around the plane, with some responders in protective medical suits.
Massport confirmed that at least five people on the plane showed flu-like symptoms, and that none of the passengers were believed to have traveled from West Africa, where a massive Ebola outbreak has killed more than 4,000 and put international airports on alert.
People awaiting the flight's arrival from Dubai told Metro that passengers were apparently coughing aboard the flight, and medical personnel were checking each person individually.
“They are taking precautionary steps and that’s a good thing. It's better that they rule everything out, especially with the recent Ebola scare,” said Dr. Khatija Gaffar, a general practitioner from Burlington. Gaffar was at Logan awaiting friends and family returning from annual pilgrimage from Mecca.
All five of the passengers with flu-like symptoms have been removed from the airplane were driven to an area hospitals.
Worcester resident Bashar Agha was in the the Terminal E arrivals area videomessaging his wife, who was aboard the plane and reported a person behind her was coughing for 14 hours. She was still seated on the plane two hours after it touched down and told Agha that every passenger was being screened by medical personnel.
Amal Toke, a 45-year-old engineer from Worcester who was waiting for his wife to return from visiting her parents when told about the medical screenings also acknowledged he was worried.
"I wish someone would give us an update," he said.
Like Toke, Chandra Vallurapalli, a 41-year-old software engineer from Natick, was also waiting for his wife, who was aboard the Dubai flight, to return from visiting family.
"I'm definitely nervous," he said. "I hope it's nothing life threatening."
The Logan flight screening came one day after a patient was isolated out of extreme caution, after he complained of flu-like symptoms and revealed he had recently been to Liberia. He is being treated at Beth Israel Deaconess Center, but is said to be "not at high risk" for Ebola.
Air flight 237 passenger Tracy Barahona Tweeted a photograph from inside the plane with the caption, "Coming up on 2 hours now @emirates @BostonLogan. Here’s what looks like the 1st pssngr escorted off #takingnochances."