Big Island mayor rushed to hospital after flight
Big Island Mayor Harry Kim is recovering from bacterial pneumonia at the Queen's Medical Center after being taken from an arriving plane Sunday with flulike symptoms, his office said.
Kim was taken by ambulance from a Korean Airlines plane arriving from Indonesia via Korea, and was initially placed in isolation to rule out a contagious condition, his office said.
Kim has been removed from isolation but remains under treatment. "He is doing well and in good spirits," according to his office. Spokeswoman Janet Snyder said there is no word about when Kim will be released.
Kim left March 19 on a trip paid by the Indonesian government to speak at a workshop to assist local governments in Indonesia to prepare for natural disasters. Kim was Hawaii County Civil Defense director for 24 years, and still frequently takes command when the Big Island faces an emergency.
Information wasn't available on when Kim became sick, but the crew of the flight he was on radioed that a passenger had flulike symptoms about an hour before the plane's arrival in Honolulu Sunday.
The official response was part of procedures put into effect in 2005 as a caution against avian flu, said state Department of Health spokeswoman Janice Okubo.
A swab from Kim was taken by an agent of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and processed by the state Health Department, but the results are confidential, Okubo said.
The Queen's ambulance picked Kim up on the tarmac, said Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Ishikawa. The rest of the passengers were kept onboard for an extra 15 minutes to determine that there were no further medical problems, he said.