In a remarkable video shot by a passenger aboard a US Airways flight from Philadelphia to the Dominican Republic, an American man was interrogated and escorted from the plane by hazmat-suited medics after joking that he had the ebola virus.
The 54-year-old American, as yet unidentified reportedly yelled, “I have ebola, you are all screwed.” He was also thought to have shouted “I’ve been to Africa!” while coughing loudly.
Some passengers aboard the flight became concerned, and it appears that someone ordered the flight crew to expect health officials to isolate and board the plane, carrying close to 300 people, as soon as it landed at the International Airport of Punta Cana.
In the video a stewardess informs passengers “It’s going to look worse than it is,” warning that “people in bubbles” are about to board the plane. The flight attendant also exclaimed that she believed the man who caused the disturbance to be “an idiot”.
As the hazmat team boards, passengers whip out cameras, and can be heard snickering. The man is seen being led away around ten minutes after the hazmat team boards the plane. He is heard exclaiming “I aint no African” as he is escorted from the plane.
The rest of the passengers were held on the plane for close to two hours while the man was inspected, and eventually given the all clear by medical officials.
“We delivered the passenger to the airline, which has its policy, but he will be returned to the United States, where he will be submitted to another rigorous check,” Walter Zemialkowski, the director of operations at the airport said.
The Ministry of Public Health in the Dominican Republic issued a statement that reads “It is absolutely false the information that states that through the Punta Cana Airport a person suspected of being sick with Ebola arrived in our country.”
While this was clearly an overreaction to an offhand wisecrack, it demonstrates how seriously some countries are taking the Ebola outbreak, especially in comparison to the Obama administration’s lack luster response.
While the White House announced new steps to screen passengers at five U.S. airports on Wednesday, flights from Ebola ravaged areas are still not being stopped from arriving into US airports.
In a survey released Thursday, some Fifty-eight percent of Americans say they want flights from countries with large numbers of Ebola cases banned. The poll also revealed that Americans disagree with sending U.S. troops to fight the epidemic by almost a 2-to-1 margin.
The Obama administration and the CDC have argued that a flight ban would further isolate West African countries and make the Ebola response effort more difficult.
Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.