An unidentified man who scribbled an Ebola warning on a cup of coffee caused quite a stir on a Dublin-bound flight. After putting the plane on lockdown for nearly an hour in the Irish capital, authorities determined that it was all a hoax.
The incident occurred on Air Lingus Flight EI 433, which had set off from Milan on Thursday. Upon arriving in Dublin, passengers were held onboard for roughly 50 minutes until paramedics were able to investigate the matter.
“Following a minor security incident on board an Aer Lingus flight from Milan to Dublin, passengers were held on board the aircraft after it landed at Dublin Airport just before 1pm today,” a spokesperson for Dublin Airport Authority told the Irish Independent.
As a precaution, the incident was fully investigated before passengers and crew disembarked as normal. The incident is now a matter for the gardai (police).”
According to the Irish Mirror, a passenger who was on the flight got in touch with their daughter to say a man had written “Be careful, Ebola” on a coffee cup. A woman, who later tweeted her father, was onboard the flight and confirmed that version of events.
Upon becoming aware of the onboard scare, the pilot contacted Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE), who then dispatched medical personnel to the scene.
A spokesperson for the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) said that the incident had been investigated and health officials were soon certain the passenger was not infected with the virus. The man is now being questioned by police.
Thursday’s incident is not the first time the ongoing Ebola epidemic, which has infected an estimated 13,676 people and killed at least 4,910, has incited unnecessary panic.
Earlier this month, 15 police officers were dispatched to Prague’s main railway station after a student from Ghana was suspected of having the virus. Quite a scene ensued, with the man being carted away with a black poly bag strewn over his head by an emergency responder decked out in a full hazmat suit.
It was later determined that the student was merely “cold.”
In a far more disturbing case of mistaken infection, a Nigerian drug smuggler was reportedly left shaking on the floor for 50 minutes after several bags of cocaine burst open in his stomach while in Madrid’s main airport. Passengers, who were reportedly terrified the man had Ebola, stood back as he was dying of a cocaine overdose.
Although medical personnel would later attend to him, he died some 25 minutes after being taken to hospital.