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Coronavirus Pandemic

Man removed from plane after receiving text saying he had Covid-19

Web report/London, United Kingdom
Filed on August 28, 2020
man, removed, Ryanair, flight, London, coronavirus, covid-19, test, result, text, Stansted airport


Officials clad in protective hazmat suits boarded the flight to remove the man and his travelling companion.

A man was removed from a proposed flight from the UK after he received a text message to say he had tested positive for Covid-19.

Officials clad in protective hazmat suits removed the passenger and his companion before the Ryanair flight left Stansted Airport in London for Pisa in Italy, Ryanair said in a statement.

The pair had only been on the aircraft for less than 10 minutes, but their removal delayed the flight by one hour and 20 minutes.

Video footage of the dramatic incident, which happened on Wednesday, shows passengers watching on transfixed from their seats while firefighters in hazmat suits arrive at the front of the plane.

The seats of the man and overhead cabins were subsequently disinfected, according to Ryanair, and the pair were escorted to an isolation area at Stansted Airport.

One passenger told Sky News it was "frighteningly real" and he and his mother wanted to get off - but weren't allowed.

Fionn Murphy was travelling to Pisa with his mother, who was seated separately from him on the flight.

He told Sky News: "After half an hour I was wondering why we hadn't moved. We then saw the fire brigade pull up outside the plane.

"Two men exited the fire truck and put on full body suits and began to board the plane. It was clear something dramatic was unfolding."

A spokesperson for Stansted Airport said in a statement: "I can confirm we (as the airport) were made aware of the passenger by the airline and members of the airport's fire service attended the aircraft and escorted the passenger (and travel partner) to an isolation area where they were put in contact with Public Health England, who then oversaw the passenger's onward journey."

A Ryanair spokesperson said it was unlikely the other passengers would have been at risk of catching the virus from the man because he was wearing a face mask.

The airline said in a statement: "A passenger who boarded a flight from London Stansted to Pisa on Wednesday 26 August received a text message notification before departure that he had tested positive for Covid-19.

"The passenger and his travel companion were immediately offloaded and taken to a Stansted Airport isolation area where they were assisted by local public health authorities.

"Since this passenger and his companion had complied fully with Ryanair health regulations - they were both wearing masks at all times at Stansted Airport and for the very short period (less than 10 mins) they were seated on the aircraft prior to departure - there was little if any risk of Covid-19 transmission to other passengers or crew members, all of whom were also wearing face masks at all times.

"The aircraft departed for Pisa following a delay of 1 hour 20 mins to allow for the empty seats and overhead cabin bins to be disinfected to comply with all UK health authority guidance.

"Ryanair apologises to all passengers for this short delay."

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