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March 09, 2020

Flight to New Jersey diverted over complaints about coughing, sneezing passenger

Flights Coronavirus
Carroll - United Airlines airplane Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

A United Airlines plane lands at the Philadelphia International Airport.

A United Airlines flight bound for Newark International Airport was briefly diverted to Denver on Sunday after a group of passengers created a disruption about another person experiencing symptoms of an apparent illness.

The incident occurred aboard United Airlines flight 1562, which was scheduled to leave Eagles County Airport in Colorado ski country, according to the Associated Press.

Airline officials told Denver's KCNC TV that a small group of passengers became disruptive when they were seated next to someone who was coughing and sneezing.

The passengers reportedly failed to follow instructions from crew members.

During a brief delay in Denver, the passengers were removed and the individual with symptoms was screened. It was determined the person was suffering from allergies.

The flight continued to Newark without the unruly passengers, while the individual with symptoms was permitted to remain on board.

The incident illustrates the fear of the spreading coronavirus, which has infected more than 500 people in the United States and more than 100,000 worldwide.

Because the disruption occurred mid-flight, the FBI is investigating the United Airlines incident. There was no immediate indication that charges would be filed.