Passengers screened after falling ill on flight to Auckland

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Monday, 10 September 2018, 5:38p.m.
The passengers are being screened by the ARPHS. (Photo / Getty)
The passengers are being screened by the ARPHS. (Photo / Getty)

Passengers have fallen ill on a Virgin Australia flight from Melbourne to Auckland and are being checked as they disembark the aeroplane.

An Auckland Airport spokeswoman said the Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) is handling the situation and St John are also responding.

The spokeswoman added that the passengers were being scanned as a precaution and those who were "fine" were free to go.

A Virgin spokesperson confirmed all passengers had been cleared of any health concerns at 6.10pm and were free to go on their way.

"Virgin Australia flight VA167 from Melbourne to Auckland safely landed at 1530 local time," the spokesperson said.

"The pilot made the decision to alert the New Zealand Ministry of Health as a precautionary measure to check the health of some passengers who felt unwell."

St John spokeswoman Chrissy Hamilton said they were called around 3.30pm about a medical incident at the airport and sent three ambulances and three jeeps.

A passenger on the flight told the Herald no one onboard the aircraft was obviously unwell other than several people coughing.

"It appeared that a significant number of people on the flight had returned from a pilgrimage to the Hajj where earlier in the week there was an outbreak of influenza.

"They kept everybody on the plane for about two hours. And some paramedics checked people's temperature who were feeling unwell and requested those people stay behind to have further medical attention."

Earlier, a Virgin spokeswoman said ''quite a few'' of the 157 passengers on board the flight from Melbourne began feeling ''quite unwell''.

The captain made the decision to alert health authorities in Auckland and staff met the plane when it landed.

The spokeswoman said the passengers were showing flu-like symptoms and following the health scare involving the Emirates flight last week the airline took a cautious approach.

The return flight to Melbourne would be delayed.

Last week, 10 passengers and crew members were hospitalised in New York City after arriving sick on a flight from Dubai.

The Emirates flight was quarantined after landing at Kennedy Airport on Wednesday morning.

AP reported on Thursday that health officials said they obtained respiratory samples from the patients and their symptoms looked like influenza.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said about 100 of the 520 people aboard the plane had complained of illness, including cough and fever.


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