A passenger on a U.S. Airways flight ignited panic Thursday after joking about having Ebola and shouting "I've been to Africa."
The unidentified man was coughing on the plane and social media reports indicated he yelled, "I have Ebola," Fox News reported.
Moments after the plane — which initially departed from Philadelphia — landed at Punta Cana International Airport, emergency personnel in hazmat suits boarded the aircraft. The passenger was then taken for tests at the airport's medical center.
Footage of the incident quickly made its way to YouTube.
"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," Patrick Narvaez, who uploaded the video to YouTube, wrote. "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."
[sharequote align="center"]"[W]e were told by the flight attendants that there was a situation..."[/sharequote]
Airport official Paola Rainieri told Fox News that the plane was ultimately held on the tarmac for about two hours while authorities determined there was no risk.
“We don’t know why he did it, but he thought it would be a cute joke that would not be so serious,” she said. “Thankfully it was only a scare.”
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