A Cleveland airport shut down multiple water fountains on New Year's Day after multiple passengers fell ill on a flight. It's a worst-case scenario situation... being sick is never fun. Being sick on New Year's Day is worse. Being sick while traveling is a total nightmare, though. Those little air-sickness bags just don't quite cut it when dealing with food poisoning - or illness from drinking contaminated water.
When multiple passengers get ill simultaneously, it's the norm to try and understand just what made them sick - and prevent anyone else from becoming ill, as well. At airports, this can be particularly difficult; passengers on the same flight may become ill from something on board, from eating at the same airport restaurant, or from something else altogether. After multiple passengers on a single flight out of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport fell ill, the airport took measures to close down water fountains just in case they were the cause.
On Tuesday, Jan 1st, at least six passengers on Frontier Airlines Flight 1397 became ill after leaving Cleveland. They were not traveling together, but all had similar symptoms and were vomiting by the end of the flight. Michele Dynia, an airport spokesperson, said that there was no guarantee that the water fountains closed were connected to the sick passengers, but that they were being closed down until testing could be done on them, just in case.
It seems that this was a surprisingly isolated incident, as of the 11,000 passengers who passed through the airport on that day, the six on this flight were the only ones who reported becoming ill. City and airport officials stated that they were testing the water and would be interviewing the passengers to try and determine what it was that led them to all become ill. Frontier airlines will also be investigating to determine if there was something on board that caused the issue. In a statement, the airline said:
The cause of the illness remains under investigation. Passenger safety is Frontier's number one priority.
It's difficult to speculate on what could have caused this mysterious in-flight illness, as almost anything could link the six passengers who became ill (and of course, pure co-incidence is always a possibility). Whatever it was, however, it's reassuring to see the swift response of everyone involved - from the airline itself to the airport and even city officials.