An Emirates flight from Dubai with several sick passengers on board landed at JFK Airport in New York City early on Wednesday prompting authorities to quarantine the plane and investigate the cause of their illness, local press reports said.
Emergency crews consisting of medics, Port Authority Police and officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention waited in the staging area as Flight 203 carrying some 500 passengers on board landed around 9.20 am and was taken to where they stood.
Initial reports said some 100 passengers were taken ill during the 14-hour flight which had a stopover in Saudi Arabia’s Mecca that is in the grip of a flu outbreak.
This may be the reason several passengers were taken ill, said New York City mayor’s press secretary Eric Phillips in a tweet.
Emirates said only ten passengers fell ill. It did not comment on the possible cause of their illness.
Most passengers who fell ill had fever and were coughing.
A law enforcement official said three people on board have been taken to hospital.
This is not the first time passengers complained of health issues. Earlier this year, a flight from New York to Florida had to be diverted after passengers reported burning throats from an unknown substance that smelled like dirty socks.