A tasteless joke by an American passenger traveling to the Dominican Republic caused panic among passengers and the airplane crew, causing authorities to isolate the plane for more than an hour on the tarmac.
An unidentified passenger traveling on US Airways Flight 845 from Philadelphia to Punta Cana, yelled out, "I've been to Africa!" just before landing on the Caribbean island, an airport official told Fox News Latino. The passenger also allegedly yelled, "I have Ebola!"
Because of the ongoing Ebola epidemic in West Africa and recent panic in the United States over an Ebola patient in Dallas, Texas, the flight crew opted to take precautions. According to Slate, "emergency personnel wearing blue hazmat suits boarded the plane and the passenger was taken to the airport's medical center for tests." Here's what the uploader of the video said of the incident:
Once we landed in Punta Cana we were told by the flight attendants that there was a situation and that a passenger may have been in Africa and had Ebola. She was certain it was a hoax but they did not take any chances and had a full hazmat crew board the plane and take the passenger off. It was later confirmed that the passenger was never in Africa and after 2hrs we were finally able to get off the plane.
The incident comes one day after the U.S. government ordered airports to begin screening passengers at five airports for symptoms of Ebola.
Local media reported that the incident, according to officials, "was a false alarm that the passenger created due to some kind of imbalance."
"The passenger, who officials have only identified as a man from North America, was reportedly coughing during the flight," Fox News Latino reports. "Medics verified that the passenger did not have a fever — a key early symptom of Ebola."
This is the worst kind of joke to make, especially since the U.S. media is in full panic mode over Ebola. "I've been doing this 36 years," remarks a flight attendant in the video. "I think the man that did this is an idiot."
Editors Note: Mar. 3, 2015
An earlier version of this article failed to cite a passage from Slate in accordance with Mic editorial standards. The article has been updated to properly attribute the language to Slate.