'I Have Ebola' Prankster Panics Airline Passengers, Prompts Full Hazmat Response

A passenger who claimed he had the Ebola virus while aboard a US Airways flight destined for the Dominican-Republic from Philadelphia on Thursday did not have the disease; it was a prank. The unidentified man panicked a flight crew and 256 passengers before a hazmat team cleared the man after two hours of Ebola screening, according to Fox News.

A male flier began coughing and yelling that he was infected with Ebola disease and was from Africa. Video footage of the scene aboard the plane shows the concerned looks on passengers' faces as the news spread of a possible carrier of the disease who was exhibiting symptoms.

Apparently, flight personnel notified a hazardous material response team on the ground, which follows protocol for Ebola evaluation based on the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

When the aircraft landed at Punta Cana International Airport, four crew members dressed in blue hazmat suits boarded the plane and isolated the supposed Ebola sufferer. The man was eventually led off the plane and evaluated at the airport's medical center. Hours later, officials said the man did not show any Ebola symptoms.

In short, the episode aboard the plane was a prank. Airport official Paola Rainieri said the man behind the Ebola joke caused the plane to be detained for two hours and passengers were delayed in arriving at their final destination. Moreover, some passengers had hunches the man was merely joking. Nonetheless, officials and flight crew were not taking chances given the severity and high mortality rate of the infection.

Readers on The Blaze weighed in on the Ebola prankster. And the general consensus was outrage over the entire incident.

"How would YOU take it, had you been on the plane, someone said they had Ebola after they had been coughing a lot……then you had to sit there for 2 hours, not knowing if you had been exposed to a DEADLY disease…..all because some idiot thought it would be 'cute'?'"

"Yep, the idiot is probably still confused as to why everyone did not get the joke that he apparently thought was so funny. They need a no-fly lists for these morons so that they do not disrupt any flights for the next 10 years."

Medical officials say although the prankster did not have Ebola, they believe he was suffering from the flu virus. Furthermore, the man is believed to have carried out the hoax in order to get attention because he was "unbalanced."

[Image via: Daily Mail]