Vanilla Ice On Board Emirates Plane Quarantined in New York After Passengers Taken Ill
People reported feeling ill on the flight from Dubai, which landed in New York Wednesday morning
This is a developing story, please check back with PEOPLE.com for updates.
An Emirates flight that landed at New York’s JFK airport Wednesday morning was quarantined after 10 passengers on board were taken ill.
The rapper and home renovation TV personality Vanilla Ice tweeted that he was on board the flight. “So I just landed from Dubai and now there is like tons of ambulances and fire trucks and police all over the place,” he wrote on Twitter. Adding, “This is crazy. Apparently there is over 100 people sick on the bottom floor, so happy I’m up top, it’s a double decker plane 380.”
The flight, an Airbus A380 arriving from Dubai, had 500 passengers on board on two levels, CBS reports. Initial reports stated about 100 passengers were feeling sick, but that number was refuted by the airline.
The “Ice Ice Baby” singer also shared a video on Facebook taken out the window of the plane after landing in which he and a seat mate can be heard discussing what’s happening.
In a statement to PEOPLE, a representative for the airline said, “Emirates can confirm that about 10 passengers on board flight EK203 from Dubai to New York were taken ill. On arrival at JFK, as a precaution, they were immediately checked by local health authorities, and those needing medical attention will be attended to. All other passengers will be disembarking shortly. The safety and care of our customers is always our first priority and will not be compromised.”
The plane was diverted to a holding area, where it was met by emergency response vehicles including officials from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
One passenger, Larry Coben, shared a photo on Twitter showing a line of responders’ vehicles lined up on the tarmac outside the plane.
ABC News reporter Dom Proto also tweeted that the pilot of the flight reported “2 male passengers with extremely high fevers and approximately 100 passengers ‘coughing non-stop.'” Though neither Emirates or the CDC has confirmed this report.
In a second statement provided to PEOPLE, a representative for Emirates shared an update that all passengers have been let off the plane and those that were ill were transported to area hospitals.
They also clarified that “all passengers were screened by local health authorities prior to disembarkation” and that three passengers and seven crew members were receiving additional medical care.
Passenger Coben posted further updates showing passengers having their temperatures taken as they exited the aircraft.
Coben shared further details of the ordeal, including showing a CDC form passengers were made to fill out, and that they had been transported to the terminal by bus, then greeted by an empty customs hall where passport control agents who greeted them were wearing masks.
A representative for the CDC told PEOPLE Wednesday afternoon that it had been alerted early that morning that a flight had landed at JFK with “passengers, including crew members, complaining of illness including cough, fever, and symptoms of gastrointestinal illness. CDC public health officers . . . completed health evaluations (including taking temperatures) of all 549 passengers and crew members on board.”
The spokesman noted that “11 individuals have been taken to a local hospital for care,” one more than Emirates reported, “and the remaining passengers have been released.” He added, “We are requesting the passengers who have been evaluated and released to call their provider and health department if they develop any symptoms, and to give their travel history and report of incident. They may receive a follow-up call from their health department just as a check-in.”
On Thursday, a representative for the New York City Department of Health officials confirmed to PEOPLE that the “Health Department’s Public Health Lab completed testing on the 10 passengers on Emirates Flight 203 who went to Jamaica Hospital yesterday with respiratory symptoms. The tests showed no illness beyond influenza or other common cold viruses, and we expect all 10 people to be released from the hospital soon.”
They also clarified that an eleventh passenger also went to Jamaica Hospital on Tuesday, but “did not have respiratory illness and was not admitted to the hospital.”