The story of an Emirates plane quarantined at JFK airport Wednesday was an attention-grabbing story all its own, but the discovery of a famous passenger on board ensured it made headlines. USA Today reports Robert Matthew Van Winkle (aka Vanilla Ice) was trapped on the plane with about 500 others, and people online soon took notice after the 50-year-old performer started posting from the plane. "So I just landed in New York coming back from Dubai and now I'm stuck on the runway with like 1000 police, ambulances, fire trucks, this is crazy," he wrote on Facebook. "It must be pretty serious 'cause there's a lot of people out there," a man's voice, ostensibly his, can be heard saying on the accompanying video clip. The rapper also tweeted he was "happy I'm up top," as he believed many of those who fell ill were on the first level of the aircraft.
He later told WPBF the "chaos" started as soon as the plane landed, and that even though the pilot had warned everyone about a sick passenger, he was thrown by the scene that waited for them on the ground. "At that point, I was like, 'OK, now I'm getting nervous' and it started getting serious," he noted, adding that staffers didn't offer any further information but merely told passengers to stay seated and off their phones. He adds that everyone was "panicking" as they were stuck there for more than three hours. Meanwhile, Oxiris Barbot, NYC's acting health commissioner, told reporters that what sickened at least three passengers and seven crew members was "probably influenza," CNN reports. One passenger notes that many appeared ill before the plane even left Dubai. "They should never had been allowed to board," she says. (Read more Vanilla Ice stories.)