Nicola Crowle, 16, who was one of dozens of Crookhorn College students to fall ill on a school trip to New York and Washington
Pupils who were quarantined in their Washington DC hotel as a result of a mystery illness are on their way home from what has been described as a school trip from hell.
A total of 48 pupils from Crookhorn College in Waterlooville, near Portsmouth, and three teachers were struck down with the virus on what was meant to be a school trip of a lifetime to New York and Washington DC.
Parents had forked out £1,400 for their children to attend the trip organised by the school’s head of history Samuel McGinley, who saw his dozens of his pupils rushed to hospital.
The Year 11 pupils were quarantined at the Harrington Hotel in DC having been discharged and faced an anxious wait to see whether they will be allowed to fly home this evening.
Thankfully, they were all passed fit to fly, and their Virgin Atlantic flight departed Washington Dulles this evening and is expected to land in the UK tomorrow morning.
Nicola Crowle, 16, was the worst hit by the illness – described as a gastro virus – and was still in hospital last night while her classmates were in the hotel.
Doctors discharged her this morning, but the aspiring accountant had spent three of the four days across the Atlantic in a hospital bed.
One of her teachers took Nicola on a whistlestop tour of the city so that she could take some pictures before they headed for the airport and her mother Susan, 57, told MailOnline she cannot wait to have her daughter home.
‘The trip from hell is almost over,’ she said.
‘I’m relieved she is on her way home and it’s nice that the teacher did that for her.
‘I’ll be happy to see her tomorrow morning, that’s for sure.’
Nicola had eaten at Planet Hollywood in New York on the night the party arrived in the US and was among the first to fall ill.
Health officials had initially thought it was food poisoning, but as more and more students and adults began to suffer from similar symptoms having eaten at a number of different outlets, they widened their investigation to consider other possible causes.
While food poisoning has not been ruled out, there is no indication that Planet Hollywood was in any way to blame for the mass sickness, and the company’s founder and owner Robert Earl told MailOnline: ‘It wasn’t until 48 hours later that the other kids got sick after their visit, therefore we can pretty safely assume that it is extremely unlikely that Planet Hollywood was involved.
‘We have found that other the groups who dined with us on the same evening, at the same time, reported no issues.
‘The organiser of the British group has now confirmed they went to eat at other restaurants during their time in New York, including a seafood restaurant the following evening, and there were 53 attendees, which appears to be the e