Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian man who brought the Ebola virus into Nigerian, looked “terribly ill” and might have known he was infected with the virus before traveling to Nigeria, the Liberian media is reporting.
According to a review of Close Circuit Television (CCTV) images at the James Spriggs Payne’s Airport, Monrovia, by Liberian newspaper, The New Dawn, Mr. Sawyer, also a naturalised American, looked terribly ill and deliberately avoided contacts with people just before boarding the Asky Airline flight that brought him to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.
Describing his behaviour as “strange”, the The New Dawn said Mr. Sawyer bore a “sad countenance” like he was troubled and sat alone avoiding bodily contact with other passengers who came close to him at the boarding gate of the James Sprigg Payne’s Airport as he awaits his flight to Lagos.
According to Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Jide Idris, Mr Sawyer who was a consultant for the Liberian Ministry of Finance, arrived Lagos on July 23 to attend an ECOWAS convention in Calabar. He became terribly ill on the airplane just before it touched down in Lagos.
Some ECOWAS officials and airport staff helped him out of the airplane and rushed him to First Consultant Medical Centre, Obalende, where he died two days later.
“His strange behaviour and frequent movement up and down as he eagerly awaits his Asky flight had prompted the security camera operator to focus on him. In the video, Patrick could be seen avoiding physical contacts with airport employees and other passengers during the check in process,” the newspaper wrote.
Airport video footage, according to the report, also showed Mr. Sawyer lying flat on his stomach on the floor in the corridor of the airport and seemed to be in “excruciating pain.”
The footage showed Mr. Sawyer preventing people from touching him.
According to the The New Dawn reporter who reviewed the video, he even snubbed an Immigration officer who initiated a friendly gesture of a handshake moments before he boarded the airplane.
FrontPage Africa, another Liberian newspaper, is also reporting that Mr. Sawyer, who is believed to have been infected by his sister who died of Ebola told its reporter soon before he travelled to Nigeria that he had gone in search of his sister’s husband who ran away after she tested positive for Ebola.
The paper said Mr. Sawyer vomited a few times among his friends in Liberian just before heading to the airport and also on the plane.
FrontPage Africa’s publisher, Rodney Sieh, later told PREMIUM TIMES by telephone from the Liberian capital, Monrovia, that his paper’s extensive reporting on the matter showed clearly Mr. Sawyer knew he had contacted the Ebola virus before travelling to Nigeria.
“He definitely knew he was sick and it was curious that he still decided to travel,” Mr. Sieh said. “His sister had died from the virus and he most likely had contact with her.”
Rage and disruptive behaviour
According to FrontPage Africa, after Mr. Sawyer became ill on the airplane; he denied to First Consultant’s personnel that he had contact with anyone infected with Ebola despite repeated inquiries after initial tests for Malaria and HIV were negative.
The newspaper said Mr. Sawyer however went into a rage and behaved in a disruptive manner at First Consultant Medical Centre after he was told he tested positive to Ebola.