Officials in hazmat suits were forced to remove a man from a Ryanair flight after he received a text message to say he had tested positive for coronavirus.
The passenger and his travel companion were taken off the plane before it left Stansted on Wednesday evening, the airline said.
The pair were on the aircraft for less than 10 minutes, but caused the Pisa-bound plane to be delayed by one hour and 20 minutes, a spokesman added.
Their seats and overhead cabins were disinfected while they were taken to an isolation area at the airport.
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Video footage of the incident showed firemen dressed in hazmat suits at the front of the plane, with passengers watching in horror from their seats.
One passenger told Sky News it was “frighteningly real” and he and his mother wanted to get off – but weren’t allowed.
Fionn Murphy was travelling to Pisa with his mother, who was seated separately from him on the flight.
He told Sky News: “After half an hour I was wondering why we hadn’t moved. We then saw the fire brigade pull up outside the plane.
“Two men exited the fire truck and put on full body suits and began to board the plane. It was clear something dramatic was unfolding.”
Mr Murphy said he and his mother were desperate to get off the plane, “but were not given that option”.
He added: “At this point we started to feel a bit panicked, not knowing if the flight would be cancelled, or worse we’d been exposed to the virus.
“Once the men came on in hazmat suits it got frighteningly real. I wanted to get off the flight straight away.”
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