Fresh Ebola fears after a passenger flying from to Nigeria to JFK dies in his seat after vomiting profusely
- The 63-year-old, a U.S. citizen, died during flight from Lagos to New York
- CDC and Port Authority boarded the Arik Air plane with 145 passengers
- They confirmed after a short, ‘cursory’ test he did not have deadly virus
- Door connecting the aircraft with the terminal was open the whole time
- The ordeal prompted concern from New York Congressman Peter King
- In a letter to Homeland Security, he wrote: ‘How could you tell so quickly?’
- Added it was worrying considering ‘how wrong CDC has been’ recently
- Officials say man died of apparent heart attack; this is yet to be confirmed
A 63-year-old American man has died during a flight from Nigeria to New York’s JFK after vomiting profusely – but it was only a ‘cursory’ exam by the CDC that confirmed he did not have Ebola. The unnamed passenger boarded an Arik Air plane out of Lagos, Nigeria, on Wednesday night, but passed away before the plane reached its final destination. Flight attendants called the CDC, Port Authority and customs officials, who then boarded the plane in protective gear as it touched down, forcing 145 worried passengers to remain on board. The authorities then conducted tests on the body and it was only a short evaluation that suggested he did not have the deadly virus, prompting concerns there are still ‘vulnerabilities’ at airports.
According to the New York Daily News, the man, who was traveling alone, also suffered chest pains before he died. This morning, a Port Authority source said he passed away of an apparent heart attack, but this is yet to be confirmed. Following his death, the U.S. citizen’s body was handed over to the Port Authority who removed it from the plane, with the CDC allegedly providing little information on how to deal with the remains. Throughout the 45-minute ordeal, the door connecting the aircraft to the terminal was left open, according to The New York Post . This prompted worries from Republican Congressman Peter King that there are not enough checks in place before reaching the screening process. In a letter to the Department of Homeland Security, he wrote: ‘It was what I was told 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,’ King said.
‘But their concern was, how could you tell so quickly? And what adds to the concern is how wrong the CDC has been over the past few weeks.’ His letter goes on to demand that Homeland Security needs to strengthen protocols before reaching the screening location – concerned of what happens to potentially infected passengers in flight and at the terminal itself. He added: ‘These individuals transit the airport with the rest of the traveling population, including using the restrooms,’ King wrote to Jeh Johnson, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, in a letter Thursday.
It comes just days after Congressman King claimed that President Barack Obama should suspend travel to the U.S. from West Africa to avoid the spread of the deadly virus. He tweeted on Tuesday: ‘POTUS should suspend travel to US from W Africa & visas to citizens of W Africa nations until we get clearer analysis of Ebola transmission.’ Nigeria is 1,000 miles east of the three West African countries suffering from an Ebola outbreak, but has had 19 cases of the virus.
However there have been no new patients in recent months and, according to the World Health Organization, if there are no more by Monday, they will officially be declared ‘Ebola-free.’ Up to 100 passengers a day arrive at JFK from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the three West African countries ravaged by the outbreak King said. A total of 4,493 people have died so far from the Ebola virus according to figures released by the World Health Organization on Wednesday. The first cases were reported in Guinea on March 2.