300,000 N95 masks donated to NY by Patriots owner Robert Kraft arrive at Javits Center

1010 WINS Newsroom
April 03, 2020 - 8:21 am

    NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft donated 300,000 N95 masks to New York to help the city battle coronavirus after flying them to the U.S. from China.

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    The masks arrived Friday at the Javits Center, where a 2,500-bed emergency medical facility has been set up for patients.

    “We have a big tractor trailer loaded with 300,000 masks that will be coming to the Javits Center late tomorrow morning,” Kraft said on CNN Thursday night.

    He was joined by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

    “I think that was the only good call I’ve gotten in about 10 days,” Cuomo said. “Mr. Kraft is a special man and what he did here is just pure generosity and goodness.”

    Kraft sent the Patriots’ plane to China to buy 1.5 million N95 masks for doctors and nurses who are working to save people infected by the coronavirus. He donated 20 percent of the haul to New York. Most of the rest of the masks—about 900,000—are going to Massachusetts. Rhode Island will also receive some of the masks.

    The team’s private plane landed in Boston from China on Thursday evening carrying more than a million masks critical to health care providers fighting to control the spread of the virus.

    Members of the Massachusetts National Guard met the plane and offloaded the containers of masks onto waiting trucks for transport to warehouses for distribution.

    Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker secured the N95 masks from Chinese manufacturers but had no way of getting them to the U.S. He reached out to Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who loaned the Boeing 767 painted in the team’s colors and logo that is usually used to carry the team to and from NFL games.

    Baker detailed the joint venture in a news conference Thursday, at one point getting emotional as the thanked the Kraft family for their assistance.

    “The Krafts were terrific," the Republican governor said. "They were a phone call away and immediately went to work on the logistics associated with this and did not stop until they could make it happen. This was a total team effort on every level.”

    Kraft Sports and Entertainment chief operating officer Jim Nolan said in an interview on Patriots.com radio that the Chinese government didn’t officially sign off on the trip until March 27. Nolan said the hurdles included legal logistics that were only cleared thanks to cooperation involving multiple state, U.S. and international entities.

    Chinese technology company Tencent was a huge help in the process, Nolan said. It agreed to gather the masks, got them through the inspection process, stayed with them to ensure their security and eventually their movement on to the Patriots’ plane.

    “This isn’t in their wheelhouse, but they thought it was the right thing to do,” Nolan said.

    There was little margin for error once the airplane arrived in China, which granted the Patriots three hours to fill the plane with the masks. They were on the ground for 2 hours, 57 minutes according to flight tracker data Nolan monitored.

    Tencent looked after approximately 1.7 million masks. The Patriots’ plane took on 1.2 million, Nolan said. They are working with Tencent to bring additional equipment back from China via a cargo plane.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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