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26 sick airplane passengers fight to get 1 of 9 toilets on board

By Mason White 4:00 AM August 5, 2013
Sick child illustration 

By: Moses Gold
(Scroll down for video) It was a nightmare of a flight, according to passengers on Qantas flight QF28.

Twenty-six passengers on the flight from Santiago, Chile to Sydney, Australia were shot down with gastrointestinal illness mid-flight on Thursday, resulting in mass vomiting and diarrhea.

A team of paramedics waited for the plane when it landed at Sydney airport about 5:15 pm on Thursday and treated the sick passengers, who were all part of the same group of tourists to return to Australia after the World Youth Day in Brazil last month.

Three of the passengers were so ill that they had to be taken off the plane in a stretcher.

The teens and several teachers were experiencing vomiting and diarrhea during the entire 13-hour flight from in the Boeing 747-400, which has less than 10 toilets on board. Australian health officials said their symptoms were consistent with the norovirus infection.

Qantas confirmed that a number of passengers traveling in the same group were sick during the flight before landing in Sydney.
“It is believed that the passengers contracted the disease before boarding the plane and the symptoms only became evident during the flight,” a Qantas spokesperson said.

“The plane was met by medical staff, who cared for the sick passengers. As a precautionary measure, the other passengers have been warned to keep a close eye on their health for the next 24 to 48 hours and see a doctor if they feel unwell,” the spokesperson added.

The plane was quarantined and moved to an area at the airport where medical staff could treat patients. The aircraft was also disinfected.

Sixteen passengers were taken to Prince of Wales Hospital and St. George Hospital for treatment.
Catholic Education Melbourne confirmed that its students and their teachers had traveled to South America for the World Youth Day and were returning home when they became sick.

One passenger, Lisa McCormick, said that teens were all from Melbourne and from Sale.
She said that unfortunately, they were quite sick throughout the entire flight. It’s a terrible way to end a holiday.