Emirates jumbo jet quarantined at New York's JFK with 'multiple' sick passengers

Key Points
  • Several passengers complained of fever and cough, the CDC said.
  • Emirates Flight 203 was met with ambulances at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.
  • Federal health officials quarantined the jet until passengers were cleared.
An Emirates Airbus A380 docked at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany on August 21, 2018. 
Nicolas Economou | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Federal health authorities and local police quarantined an Emirates Airline jumbo jet Wednesday morning in New York after several passengers said they were ill.

Upon landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport, the double-decker Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger jet, was met by ambulances and parked away from terminals, so medical personnel from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could provide assistance to the "multiple" sick passengers, said the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees the airport. Emergency medical workers took passengers' temperatures at the airport.

Flight 203 arrived in New York with travelers complaining of cough, fever and "symptoms of gastrointestinal illness," said the CDC. At least 10 people from the flight were taken to a local hospital after the flight. Emirates said that includes seven crew members. There were more than 500 passengers and crew aboard the superjumbo jet, the health agency said.

About 45 minutes before landing, Emirates crew informed passengers that health officials would be boarding the plane at the airport because some travelers were ill, and that passengers should remain seated, said Larry Coben, the chairman of of NRG Energy, who was on the flight. Another passenger, Erin Sykes, tweeted a video of medical workers examining travelers as they exited the aircraft.

"We are requesting the passengers who have been evaluated and released to call their provider and health department if they develop any symptoms, and to give their travel history and report of incident," said the CDC. "They may receive a follow-up call from their health department just as a check-in."

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which processes passengers arriving from overseas, said it would admit the arriving travelers once they were cleared by the CDC, said Anthony Bucci, a spokesman for the agency.

The incident delayed Emirates' return flight to Dubai, scheduled for 11:20 a.m. EDT, by about three hours, the airline said.