Dozens report being ill on flight from Dubai to New York

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By Daniel Bellamy  with Reuters
Dozens report being ill on flight from Dubai to New York

At least 19 people aboard an Emirates flight from Dubai to New York were confirmed ill when the aircraft landed on Wednesday at John F. Kennedy International Airport, after as many as 100 passengers and crew reported feeling sick, authorities said.

Ten of the 19 people on Emirates airline [EMIRA.UL] Flight 203, which landed with at least 521 passengers around 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT), were taken to hospitals, while the other nine declined treatment, said Raul Contreras, a spokesman for the New York City mayor’s office.

“Everyone else was clear,” he said in an interview.

All passengers aboard the plane were allowed to leave by Wednesday afternoon, according to an Emirates spokeswoman, who said three passengers and seven crew members were being treated at a hospital.

“Nine passengers underwent additional medical screening at the site near the aircraft and were released afterwards,” said the spokeswoman for Dubai-based Emirates. “The rest of the passengers were allowed to leave and clear customs.”

About 100 people complained of feeling ill on the flight, with symptoms including cough and fever, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement.

The plane - a double-deck Airbus 380 - was taken to a location away from the terminal so emergency officials could evaluate the situation, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officials said in a statement. The A380 is the world’s largest passenger aircraft.

Diala Makki was traveling first-class on Flight 203 en route to New York Fashion Week when she learned from flight crew that a number of people had become sick onboard and passengers were to be detained until officials made checks.

“The Emirates cabin crew were super-helpful, they were not in panic mode, which was amazing,” Makki, 36, said in an interview outside of John F. Kennedy Airport. “Then we got the American officials check every one of us until we got out. They dealt with it really well.”

Makki, a television host from Dubai, said she got “just a little bit scared” through the entire experience and was aware of reports of 100 people sick.

“That’s what I heard, but the cabin crew told me it was 10, so I don’t know,” she added.

The flight was delayed at takeoff and lasted nearly 14 hours, according to