An Alaska Airlines passenger died from an unverified medical emergency Tuesday while aboard a flight from Seattle to Kansas City, Fox News reported.
Police said it appeared as if the unidentified woman may have undergone cardiac arrest mid-flight and was reported dead by the time emergency personnel reached her at Kansas City International Airport.
Efforts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful, and passengers were held on the flight for at least two hours after it landed Tuesday afternoon, Fox 4 Kansas City noted.
"I'm just really sorry for the family of this lady," passenger Jan Andrews said, according to the station.
The woman's exact cause of death will be established after an autopsy is performed. Police said they did not suspect any foul play, according to The Kansas City Star.
While the odds of a person dying on a flight are low, this incident proved that it does happen from time to time.
When a death arises, each airline has its own protocol to follow.
"We have procedures in place to treat a passenger in medical distress," Ross Feinstein, a spokesperson from American Airlines told Travel and Leisure, adding that technically "only a medical professional can pronounce someone deceased."
Cindy Hermosillo, a spokesperson for Southwest, told Travel and Leisure that "flight attendants utilize several resources including communicating with medical professionals on the ground (through a radio or satellite connection) or enlisting assistance from credentialed medical personnel who coincidentally may be traveling on that flight."
The Guardian recently reported that certain airlines such as Singapore Airlines, have introduced a special cupboard to store corpses in an attempt to reduce the trauma of mid-flight deaths.
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