Six unrelated people, six very-related symptoms. What caused these passengers to start vomiting on a Frontier flight?
On New Year’s Day, Frontier Flight 397 took off from Cleveland to to Tampa with 226 passengers onboard. Inflight, six passengers, all unrelated, fell ill. Symptoms included nausea, upset stomach and vomiting.
Upon arrival in Tampa, health officials boarded the plane wearing masks. All six passengers were asked to step aside for medical screening. Anxiety grew. At the request of health officials, the 220 other passengers were asked to remain onboard for 60 minutes.
Frontier issued the following statement:
During Frontier flight 1397 from Cleveland to Tampa this afternoon, six passengers became ill. 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.
While the cause of the illness is still unknown, a common thread among sick passengers may have been the use of a drinking fountain near the departure gate in Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. The airport has shut down its water fountains and is conducing testing on the water supply.
And while that appears to be one working theory, I have to question it. No other passengers on any other airlines reported illness. Might is also be that the potable water onboard was tainted and the passengers became sick drinking tea or coffee onboard? Isn’t it suspicious that no one else was adversely affected outside this flight?
Headlines across the country are blaming this incident on the water fountains. I’d take a wait-and-see approach instead. My prediction is something onboard rather than at the airport.