Ebola hoax causes scare on US Airways flight
A passenger was escorted off a flight by officers in protective suits after he repeatedly sneezed and then claimed to have Ebola.
The American passenger flying from Philadelphia to the Dominican Republic was forced to leave the plane after sneezing and yelling: "I have Ebola!", while the remaining 255 passengers were made to stay on board for two hours.
The unnamed passenger, who doesn't have Ebola, was escorted off the plane by officials as he declared: "I ain't from Africa". The man had reportedly been sneezing and coughing, which are said to be early signs of having the deadly virus, throughout the four-hour journey to Punta Cana.
A video captured by one of the other passengers shows four officers dressed in protective Hazmat (hazardous materials) suits boarding the flight, while a flight attendant tries to reassure fliers that the situation "looks worse than it really is". She adds that, having worked in the airline industry for about 30 years, she was sure "the man who has said this [joke] is an idiot".
Passengers sat near the man covered their faces and those filming the incident yelled at him while he was forced to remove his luggage from the overhead lockers and leave the plane. He was detained at Punta Cana International Airport where he underwent extensive medical checks and was interviewed by airport officials before it was confirmed he did not have Ebola. He is believed to have the flu, according to Walter Zemialkowski, the airport's director of terminals and maintenance, the Daily Mail reports.
The man's passport did not indicate he had made any recent trips to Africa, Alberto Smith, the director of operations at Punta Cana airport, told Acento.com.do.