Five passengers with flu-like symptoms who were taken to Boston hospitals after arriving on an international flight to Logan International Airport do not have Ebola or other infections that should raise public health concerns, city health officials said late Monday.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protections said none of these five passengers on Emirates Flight 237 has traveled to West Africa recently.
Three of the five patients were transported to Massachusetts General Hospital, the hospital confirmed. The two other passengers were taken to Boston Medical Center, according to Massachusetts State Police spokesperson. David Procopio. The passengers' conditions are unknown at this time.
The remaining 182 passengers and 19 crew members got off the plane around 5:20 p.m. and cleared customs.
According to an Emirates spokesperson, the passengers were traveling from Dubai when they reported flu-like symptoms during the flight and the crew alerted Boston authorities as a precaution; the affected passengers were taken for medical check-ups when the plane was met by emergency crews after it landed.
"Emirates is fully cooperating with the authorities in Boston. The safety of our passengers and crew is always of paramount importance," Emirates said in a statement.
Hanan Banhassi was returning from a religious pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia on the same flight as the passengers who were taken to the hospital.
"What happened, we were traveling and I kept hearing coughing, coughing, and when we landed, we didn't know, they told us it was some kind of emergency," she said.
Banhassi took eyewitness video of some of the patients leaving the plane in hazmat suits. She said she was one row in front of the sick family, which included a mother, father and son, on the 13-plus hour flight from Dubai..
"One time I think somebody was in the bathroom, and then I heard the steward saying, 'Are you okay, sir?'" she said.
The Emirates flight landed at Gate E6 in Terminal E. It left Dubai Monday morning at 8:47 local time and arrived in Boston at 2:45 p.m. EST.
Meanwhile, health officials in Boston spoke Monday about the measures they have in plasce in the event Ebola is found in the city after a patient was isolated at a Braintree, Massachusetts, facility after showing possible Ebola symptoms. Health officials say the patient appears to be at low risk for the virus.
Stay with NECN as this story develops.