Report: Emirates Plane Quarantined at JFK Airport After Passengers Fall Ill

A picture taken on August 10, 2017, shows an Emirates airline Boeing 777 parked on the tarmac at Dubai airport. The airlines confirmed it would sponsor the shirts of Qatar-owned Paris Saint-Germain until 2019, despite a regional crisis which has seen the UAE cut ties with Doha. / AFP PHOTO …
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A plane has been quarantined at New York’s Kennedy Airport amid reports of ill passengers aboard a flight from Dubai.

According to local reports, the Emirates flight landed at the airport at approximately 9:10 a.m EST Wednesday. The airline says about 10 passengers fell ill aboard the plan and were receiving medical attention “as a precaution.”

“I asked the (flight attendant) for a mask before we even took off, but there was none available,” Erin Sykes, an Emirates passenger, told CNN. “It was so obvious that a large number of people were ill well before take-off.” Sykes also told the news outlet that the aircraft experienced little turbulence and was confident that passengers had not fallen ill due to “turbulence or air sickness.”

Video from news helicopters showed the jet sitting on the tarmac surrounded by ambulances, vehicles, and airport personnel.

In a statement shared to Twitter, the airline wrote: “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.”

Representatives of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were on the scene. Eric Phillips, a spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, tweeted that the flight stopped in Mecca, which is experiencing a flu outbreak, and “early indications point to that as a possibility.”

Among those under quarantine at the airport is rapper Vanilla Ice, reported MediaPost’s Alex Weprin.

A New York police counterterrorism division tweeted it appeared to be a “medical situation.”

Larry Coben, who said he was on board the aircraft, wrote on Twitter that passengers are being asked to fill out a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention form and that CDC personnel had boarded the aircraft.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey issued the following statement. “At 9:12 a.m. today, Emirates Flight 203 from Dubai landed at JFK Airport with a report of multiple sick passengers. The plane was taken to a location away from the terminal so that medical personnel from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could board the aircraft to evaluate the situation and provide immediate assistance before passengers deplane and are processed by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. The PAPD and Port Authority airport operations staff are coordinating closely and providing support to the CDC and CBP as necessary. The CDC will provide further updates as they become available.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters President Donald Trump received a briefing on the situation and is monitoring it closely.

The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse contributed to this report. 

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