Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said he has "serious concerns" after a passenger reportedly vomited and died aboard a plane from Nigeria that landed at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport early Thursday.
New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport has been screening travelers arriving from West African countries that have been affected by Ebola. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
"It is my understanding that a plane from Nigeria landed at JFK today with a passenger who passed away en route," King said in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. "Based on what I know of this situation, I have very serious concerns about the cursory exam conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official to determine that the passenger did not have Ebola [...]."
The New York Post reported the incident occurred on an Arik Air plane that left from Lagos, Nigeria, one of the West Africa countries that has seen only a few Ebola cases in the current outbreak. The Post reported that a federal law enforcement source said the unnamed passenger vomited in his seat before dying. The plane, which carried 145 passengers, landed at JFK at 6 a.m. Thursday, according to the Post.
Representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Customs and Border Patrol, and the Federal Aviation Administration did not immediately return requests for comment from TheBlaze. The Transportation Security Administration said that this would not be a TSA issue.
King has been part of the chorus calling on the Obama administration to institute travel bans from Ebola-stricken countries.
King also wrote that his concern extends to the instructions given to the port authority and Customs and Border Control "regarding handling the remains and the remainder of the passengers." In light of the situation, King listed various questions to Johnson regarding protocols in place to deal with an infected passenger on a plane, the possibility of establishing "isolation zones" in an airport and cleaning procedures.
In an interview with the New York Daily News, King said that the CDC ruled the man died of a heart attack.
"But Port Authority workers who handled his remains and the other passengers were exposed to this guy. What if he had Ebola?" he asked.
Watch WPIX-TV's report:
In addition to this specific situation, King wrote that "given the high volume of travelers at JFK, it is essential that extraordinary measures are taken to intercept possible Ebola-infected passengers."
“These individuals transit the airport with the rest of the traveling population, including using the restrooms,” King wrote. "It is only after they arrive at the Customs and Border Patrol primary screening location that they are separated and sent to secondary inspection for a medical check and to complete the questionnaire."