SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association) This is the terrifying moment a team of Hazmat-wearing officials boarded a Boston plane following reports that five passengers were exhibiting flu-like symptoms.
Donning overalls and masks, the officials were filmed walking down United Arab Emirates Flight 237 from Dubai to Logan International Airport this afternoon, before removing the sick fliers.
None of the five passengers had recently traveled to West Africa, where an outbreak of the Ebola virus has already killed more than 4,000 people, the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) said.
However, erring on the side of caution, airport officials said they made the decision to isolate them and evaluate their conditions,The Boston Globe reported.
Following their departure from the plane, which was carrying 187 passengers and 19 crew members, two of the passengers suffering from fevers were taken by ambulance to Boston Medical Center.
The remaining three, who did not have fevers but were experiencing other flu-like symptoms, were transported to Massachusetts General Hospital, according to Massport spokesman, Matthew Brelis.
Two of the passengers have reportedly since undergone preliminary medical tests, which have proved negative for Ebola. However, the state of the other three remains unknown.
Although it has not yet been confirmed whether the sick fliers were traveling together, passenger Mandy Mohan said a group of tourists appeared to be the focus of health inspectors.
‘One of them was kind of sick, so they were checking for symptoms, checking what their temperature was, and stuff like that,’ he told the newspaper.
Another woman, also on board the flight, said she believed the passengers were all part of the same family, according to necn.com.
Flight 237’s crew alerted authorities, including Boston EMS and Massport Fire Rescue, at around 2.45pm after the five fliers fell ill on the plane, which had left Dubai at 8.47am local time.
While Hazmat-wearing crews sparked concern by boarding the flight, passengers could also see a mass of emergency response crews, including ambulances, on the tarmac outside Terminal E.
After the sick passengers were escorted away, the remaining 182 fliers were released from the plane at around 5.20pm and processed through customs, WCVB reported.
Despite the worry on board Flight 237, one relative of two passengers, who were traveling from India via Dubai, said he was not concerned about the welfare of his family.
‘It [the emergency response] is just a precautionary thing, and it’s for the safety of everybody that is traveling,’ said Jaffea Mohamed.
However, Bashar Agha, who was waiting for his wife at Logan Airport, said: ‘I just spoke with my wife, she said some old man behind her has been coughing for 14 hours.’
It comes just a day after a Dallas passenger was removed from an American Airlines flight at Nashville airport after vomiting on board.
Passengers reported the person was being sick and possibly having a seizure as Flight 1676 arrived in Nashville at 11:29pm on Sunday.
There were 140 passengers and five crew members on board – they were held on the runway until the sick passenger could be removed, according to WSMV.
The passenger was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to be assessed, reports WSMV. However, officials said they were not concerned about the flier having Ebola.
Last Friday, the World Health Organization announced the Ebola death toll is now 4,033. This brings the total number of confirmed and suspected cases of Ebola to 8,399.
Most cases were recorded in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Symptoms of the virus include a high fever, vomiting, a headache, joint and muscle aches, a sore throat and general weakness.
In a statement, Emirates, which was the first major international airline to suspend flights to West Africa in August, said it was ‘fully cooperating’ with authorities following today’s incident.