Update 9/5/2018, 12:55 ET: Eric Phillips, press secretary for New York’s mayor, has reported on Twitter that all 521 passengers have been evaluated and are now off the plane. A total of 19 passengers are sick. Ten of those went to a local hospital while the remaining nine declined treatment. “Health officials are processing tests now to determine the cause.
Emirates Airline has confirmed that “about 10 passengers” have fallen ill from an unidentified illness on flight 203, direct from Dubai to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, where the plane is currently being held under quarantine.
The Airbus A380 arrived shortly after 9am ET this morning, carrying 521 passengers, according to the New York City mayor’s office. Local media outlets initially reported that around 100 passengers reported feeling ill. Images of the plane shared by media and Twitter users show it in a standing area, away from any terminal, surrounded by ambulances and police.
Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Port Authority police were reportedly responding to the incident.
Shortly after 10am ET, Emirates Airline released a statement on Twitter, saying:
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.
Eric Phillips, press secretary for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, also confirmed on Twitter that about 10 people from the flight have been taken to the hospital and that authorities are triaging the remaining passengers on the plane. Shortly after 11 am ET, Phillips said that 40 had been cleared to go on through customs and “a few others” were showing symptoms and being held for treatment or possible transfer to a hospital.
In an earlier tweet, Phillips suggested that the mystery illness could be influenza, noting that some of the passengers had come from Mecca, which he reported was experiencing a flu outbreak. “Early indications point to that as a POSSIBILITY,” he wrote.
A local CBS news outlet in New York, however, reported that Emirates Airline believes the incident was caused by food poisoning. The outlet also reported that an unnamed government official said that there was no evidence of a security or terror threat.
Emirates Airline did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment or updates.