Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 Full of Cruise Ship Passengers Quarantined Due to Widespread Sickness
The jumbo jet was isolated at London's Gatwick Airport after landing.
A Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 was forced into quarantine at Great Britain's Gatwick Airport after landing on Wednesday morning, thanks to the outbreak of a nasty illness that waylaid a number of passengers and crew during the flight. And the fault behind the sickness, it seems, may have been tied to another form of transportation: the dreaded cruise ship.
Everything no doubt seemed fine from the ground, at least at first: Virgin Atlantic Fight 610 completed the eight-hour journey from Bridgetown, Barbados to London, England on time, with the Boeing 747-400 touching down at 5:20am. Upon hitting the tarmac. however, the four-engined jetliner was met by emergency services personnel, the Sussex Police told CNN. A spokesperson for the South East Coast ambulance service elaborated, telling The Guardian that help had been called for about half an hour before the plane landed, after reports had come down that the Boeing contained numerous passengers and crew who weren't feeling particularly well.
Roughly 30 people were checked out at a special screening center, The Guardian reported. Two were taken to the hospital, according to the BBC. All the other passengers deplaned as normal after the period of quarantine, and "all passengers have since continued their onward journeys," the police said in a statement.
"A number of customers onboard [Virgin Atlantic Flight 610], which landed at London Gatwick this morning from Barbados, reported feeling unwell. As a precaution the plane was met by the relevant authorities who made the decision to screen everyone onboard, in line with standard health and safety procedures," a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said. “The wellbeing of our customers and crew is always our priority, and we are supporting those affected.”
According to passenger Trevor Wilson, who corresponded with representatives of the media from aboard the plane and the subsequent holding center via Twitter, the Virgin plane was a charter flight, with customer load was made up exclusively of people who had previously been aboard the cruise ship MSC Preziosa—a 139,000-ton Fantasia-class vessel capable of carrying more than 4,000 passengers. And, apparently, a whole lot of viruses, as Wilson claimed the bug—which he described as "mainly a bad chesty cough possibly chest infection"—appears to have originated on the floating vessel, not the flying one.
"The illness seems to have originated on board ship not the plane," Wilson told Sky News's Joe O'Brien via Twitter. "5 members of cabin crew became sick on flight."
MSC Cruises confirmed to the BBC that the Virgin flight's 448 passengers had indeed been on the cruise ship before the flight.
"We are still investigating what may have caused the illness and we are currently waiting for further updates from Gatwick Airport medical services," the spokesperson said. "What we do know is that on MSC Preziosa, no cases of acute gastroenteritis have been reported in the past 14 days."
Seriously. Why do people still go on cruise ships?