A plane from Nigeria landed at JFK Airport Thursday with a male passenger aboard who had died during the flight after a fit of vomiting — and CDC officials conducted a “cursory” exam before announcing there was no Ebola and turning the corpse over to Port Authority cops to remove, Rep. Peter King said on Thursday.
The congressman was so alarmed by the incident — and by what he and employees see as troubling Ebola vulnerabilities at JFK — that he fired off a letter to the federal Department of Homeland Security demanding more training and tougher protocols for handling possible cases there.
The unnamed, 63-year-old passenger had boarded an Arik Air plane out of Lagos, Nigeria, on Wednesday night, a federal law enforcement source said.
During the flight, the man had been vomiting in his seat, the source said. Some time before the plane landed, he passed away. Flight crew contacted the CDC, federal customs officials and Port Authority police, who all boarded the plane at around 6 a.m. as about 145 worried passengers remained on board, the source said.
“The door [to the terminal] was left open, which a lot of the first responders found alarming,” said the source.
“My understanding was that the passenger was vomiting in the seat,” King (R-LI) said.
“The CDC went on the plane, examined the dead body and said the person did not have Ebola,” King said.
“It was what I was told a cursory examination. The Port Authority cops and personnel from Customs and Border Protection were there, and they were told there was no danger because the person did not have Ebola,” King said.
“But their concern was, how could you tell so quickly? And what adds to the concern is how wrong the CDC has been over the past few weeks.