Tags: teen | dies | flight | delta | jet | diverted

Teen Dies on Flight: Delta Jet Diverted, But Boy Already Dead

Monday, 09 Dec 2013 10:12 AM

By Michael Mullins

A teen died on a flight between Seattle and Atlanta Saturday morning after suffering a medical emergency while aboard Delta Flight 128, forcing the pilot to divert the plane to an airport in Spokane, Wash.

The 16-year-old, whose identity was not released, was originally from the Atlanta area. He was reportedly visiting family in Washington State and traveling back to Georgia for a Christmas family reunion with his extended family, Fox News reported.

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Spokane Fire Assistant Chief Brian Schaeffer told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that an autopsy is pending and the teen's medical distress occurred within 30 minutes of when the flight took off at about 9 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on Saturday.

One of the 258 passengers aboard the Boeing 767 plane, Joe Ryan, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the pilot notified the passengers of the medical emergency almost immediately after take-off.

"The plane never really got too high," Ryan said. "The pilot all of the sudden got on the intercom and said there was a passenger in dire need (of medical attention)."

Ryan said that several flight attendants, who he described as "unbelievable," as well as other passengers, jumped into action and attempted to help the boy but to no avail.

As soon as the plane landed and arrived at the gate, about a half of dozen emergency vehicles met the plane with emergency technicians getting "on the plane in seconds," Ryan added.

Todd Woodard, a spokesman for the airport in Spokane, Wash., told The New York Times that the flight landed at approximately 10:20 a.m. local time, and that the teen had died of natural causes.

According to the teen's family, the boy had a preexisting medical condition, however was cleared to fly, Schaeffer said.

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