Emirates Flight EK203 is in quarantine at New York’s JFK International Airport after numerous passengers reportedly fell ill on board.
The exact number of passengers and crew that became sick during the flight remains in controversy.
In a statement to Business Insider, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that “approximately 100 passengers, including some crew on the flight, complained of illness including cough and some with fever.”
However, Emirates initially said the number of sick passengers was about 10, but later upped that figure to 19 people including seven members of the crew. The exact reason for this significant discrepancy remains unclear.
In an updated statement to Business Insider, the airline confirmed that three passengers and seven crew were transferred to the hospital for further medical care and evaluation. In addition, nine other passengers received additional medical screening at “a site near the aircraft” but were later released, Emirates said.
The cause of the illness remains a mystery.
The Emirates flight, an Airbus A380 Superjumbo, landed in New York at 9:18 a.m. on Wednesday after a 14-hour trip from Dubai. Pictures posted on social media by passengers show the plane at a remote stand surrounded by an armada of ambulances and emergency response vehicles. The CDC confirmed that there were 521 passengers on board.
According to a passenger named Larry Cohen, those aboard the flight were required to fill out a CDC health form and had their temperatures taken before they were allowed to deplane. Both the CDC and the airline confirmed that all passengers were evaluated by health officials prior to being let off the plane.
Emirates has indicated that all passengers have disembarked the aircraft and those who are not receiving medical treatment are free to leave the airport.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the organization operating the airport, was not immediately available for comment.
Passengers on the flight offered their perspective on the incident through social media. Oddly, this including 90s rapper Vanilla Ice, who claims to have been a passenger on the plane’s upper deck.