UPDATE: Spirit takes action after passengers fall ill on Cleveland Frontier flight; water safe to drink at airport

Updated: Jan. 2, 2019 at 4:17 AM EST
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--UPDATE (Thursday, Jan. 3): An Ohio EPA-certified laboratory has confirmed the water is safe to drink at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.--

TAMPA, FL (WOIO) - Several passengers became ill on a Frontier Airlines flight that was traveling from Cleveland to Tampa on Tuesday, and it may be connected to a drinking fountain at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

Frontier released a statement regarding the flight on Tuesday evening:

“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.”

The passengers were not traveling together, according to WFLA-TV.

The City of Cleveland released an update on the passenger illnesses on Monday which read:

"Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) received a notification from Frontier Airlines on New Year’s Day that six passengers reported being sick on a flight from CLE to Tampa. The safety of passengers at CLE is our top priority and we are conducting a thorough investigation.

While the cause of the illness is unknown, an early report from Frontier indicated each of the passengers may have used a public drinking fountain before the flight. Cleveland Department of Public Health (CDPH) is contacting each of the six affected passengers to conduct an interview. We are also working to confirm if all six passengers did in fact drink water from the fountain.

CDPH, Cleveland Water and CLE airport staff are working collaboratively to investigate all potential causes, including passenger activities before arriving at the airport. Based on our expertise, water borne illnesses generally have a longer incubation period than what we saw in this instance. Also, Cleveland Water has no known water safety issues in the vicinity of CLE, but is collecting additional street-level samples to verify.

Since Frontier’s initial report referenced the water fountain, airport staff immediately closed down and sanitized all fountains on Concourse A. CLE airport staff and CDPH are testing fountains and will send water samples to an external Ohio EPA-certified lab for evaluation. Due to the nature of the testing, it will take approximately 24-48 hours before results are ready.

On New Year’s Day, more than 11,000 passengers traveled through CLE and no other passengers have reported illnesses.”

Spirit Airlines is also airing on the side of caution to protect their passengers traveling through Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, saying:

“At this point we have no record of any Guests becoming sick from the water situation at Cleveland Hopkins International. Spirit Airlines will not be putting any potable water from the airport on our aircraft until this situation has been resolved.”

(Source: Spirit Airlines)
(Source: Spirit Airlines)((Source: Spirit Airlines))

Return for updates on this developing story.

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