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Passengers Sickened by Drinking Fountains at Cleveland Airport?

Passengers Sickened by Drinking Fountains at Cleveland Airport?
Jeff Edwards

After several passengers became physically ill during a Frontier Airlines Cleveland-to-Tampa flight, health officials briefly quarantined the aircraft when it reached its final destination. Concerns that the flyers who took ill might have been exposed to pathogens at an airport water fountain prior to boarding led authorities in Ohio to order some airport facilities closed.

Frontier Airlines officials have confirmed that at least six passengers fell ill during a New Year’s Day flight from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) to Tampa International Airport (TPA). According to reports, health officials briefly quarantined the plane on the ground in Florida for more than an hour before allowing unaffected passengers to disembark.

“During Frontier flight 1397 from Cleveland to Tampa this afternoon, six passengers became ill,” an airline spokesperson told Tampa NBC affiliate WFLA. “The aircraft was met by local emergency medical services upon arrival in Tampa. Those passengers displaying symptoms were evaluated by medical staff before being released. All other passengers were released after a brief holding period. The cause of the illness remains under investigation. Passenger safety is Frontier’s number one priority.”

Authorities say that the six passengers who became ill during the flight were strangers not traveling together, leading health officials to suspect that the illnesses were in some way related to the air travel journey. No other flyers reported symptoms in the hours since the flight landed.

“They were just coming out of nowhere,” one passenger on the flight told reporters. “Just throwing up, sick.”

Eyewitnesses on the plane say crew members first let passengers know there was a potential problem about halfway through the scheduled two-and-a-half-hour-flight. Flight attendants asked any air travelers on the flight who were experiencing symptoms to identify themselves before landing.

A CLE spokesperson later told the television station that an airport drinking fountain near the Frontier gates may be linked to the in-flight illnesses. According to the report, officials immediately shut down all of the water fountains in that concourse as a precaution.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (5)


  1. JimInOhio

    January 2, 2019 at 4:44 pm

  2. mrdeke

    January 2, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    Bad headline. The drinking fountain is just suspected to be the problem. It’s inappropriate to say it was the cause.

  3. chollie

    January 2, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    I used to think unsafe drinking water was a third world problem.

  4. tenn_ace

    January 2, 2019 at 9:29 pm

    And that’s – according to the state department – in the safest country for travel?!

  5. HomerJay

    January 4, 2019 at 12:50 am

    Years ago, my partner and I were strolling down the Avenida de la Revolucion in Tijuana when we saw a Jack in the Box. This was right after a big outbreak of food poisoning linked to that chain.

    “That sounds safe,” he said. “Jack in the Box. Tijuana. What could possibly go wrong?”

    We went to the Mickey D’s and survived to tell the tale.

    The drinking fountains at Cleveland Hopkins Airport. Frontier Airlines. What could possibly go wrong?

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