A female passenger collapsed and died at London’s Gatwick Airport this weekend after arriving in the UK from Gambia, leading to fears that the Ebola virus had spread to Britain.
The Daily Mail reports that the woman, believed to be in her 70s, arrived on a Gambia Bird flight on Saturday morning. She soon collapsed, with witnesses reporting that she was vomiting and sweating heavily, and was later pronounced dead in hospital.
Tests last night, however, confirmed that the woman did not have the virus which has killed a total of 826 people in western Africa since February.
The plane was quarantined as officials tried to trace all passengers who had been in contact with the woman. A member of airport staff told the Daily Mirror: “We’ve all seen how many people have died from Ebola, especially in Sierra Leone, and it’s terrifying. The woman was sweating buckets and vomiting.
“Paramedics arrived to try to help her. The next thing everybody was there… emergency crews, airfield operations, even immigration.
“They closed down the jet bridge and put the aircraft into quarantine. They took everyone’s details, even the guy who fuels the aircraft.”
The plane originated in Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone – the country with the highest number of Ebola victims – before stopping at Banjul in Gambia and then arriving in Gatwick at 8.15am British Summer Time.
The Department of Health has confirmed that the woman tested negative for Ebola, with a spokesman for South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust adding: “We were called to Gatwick Airport on Saturday at 8.27am to attend to a patient who had been taken unwell on an inbound flight from Gambia.”