Nigerian passenger’s death aboard Arik Airline flight sparks #Ebola panic in the US

by Chidi Okoye

According to U.S. Representative for New York’s 2nd congressional district, Peter King, a Nigerian man has died aboard a plane from Nigeria which landed at JFK Airport on Thursday, 16 October.

King disclosed that the male passenger had been seriously vomiting during the flight, and after his death, CDC officials conducted a “cursory” exam before announcing there was no signs of Ebola and subsequently turned the corpse over to Port Authority officials.

He said, “My understanding was that the passenger was vomiting in the seat. The CDC went on the plane, examined the dead body and said the person did not have Ebola. I was told it was a cursory examination. The Port Authority cops and personnel from Customs and Border Protection were there, and they were told there was no danger because the person did not have Ebola.”

According to a federal law enforcement source, the unnamed 63-year-old passenger had boarded an Arik Air plane out of Lagos, Nigeria, on the night of Wednesday, 15 October.

“During the flight, the man had been vomiting in his seat. Some time before the plane landed, he passed away. Flight crew contacted the CDC, federal customs officials and Port Authority police, who all boarded the plane at around 6 am as about 145 worried passengers remained on board. The door [to the terminal] was left open, which a lot of the first responders found alarming, the source said.

Meanwhile, King has also written a letter to the US Department of Homeland Security, demanding that protocols should be immediately beefed up in the JFK airport.

His letter stated, “Between 70 and 100 passengers a day arrive at JFK from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the three West African countries that are the epicentre of the outbreak.”

“These individuals transit the airport with the rest of the travelling population, including using the restrooms. Only after they arrive at the Customs and Border Patrol primary screening location that they are separated and sent to secondary inspection for a medical check and to complete the questionnaire.”

In a similar vein, the Spainish authorities activated emergency safety measures after an Air France flight from Lagos was suspected of carrying a passenger with
symptoms Ebola on Thursday, 16 October.

The passenger, on Air France 1300 from Lagos, Nigeria, reportedly started shaking during the flight which landed at Barajas International Airport in the Spanish capital. Air France said the other passengers disembarked from the plane, which was flying via Paris. The plane will now be disinfected and the return flight has been cancelled.

Spain’s health ministry confirmed that an Ebola emergency protocol had been set in motion but declined to give details. There were 163 people on board the flight.

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