The passenger’s wife said he experienced COVID-related symptoms, officials said.
A United flight was diverted after a passenger suffered a medical emergency and died.
United Flight 591 was diverted to New Orleans on Monday after a male passenger became ill. Paramedics transported the individual to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased, the carrier said.
According to airline officials, the passenger’s wife told an emergency medical technician that her husband had COVID-related symptoms. Officials have not confirmed if the passenger was positive for the virus.
Cameron Roberts was a passenger on the flight. He described a chaotic scene in which fellow passengers rushed to help the man in distress.
“They had him on the ground in the center of the aisle,” Roberts said. “They were still giving him CPR while we were touching down.”
Roberts and his fiancé said passengers gave the man chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth believing he was suffering from cardiac arrest.
Roberts said is currently quarantining and took a COVID test.
“It’s sad to see that, you know, they lost a family member,” Roberts said, “but at the same time, it was irresponsible on their part to have came on the plane.”
United said it has been in contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is “sharing requested information with the agency so they can work with local health officials to conduct outreach to any customer the CDC believes may be at risk for possible exposure or infection.”
United requires all its passengers to complete a “Ready-to-Fly” checklist before checking into a flight, which prompts them to acknowledge they have not tested positive for COVID-19 nor have they had any related symptoms in the past two weeks.
“We implore passengers not to travel if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have COVID-related symptoms. If in doubt, the best option is to get tested,” United said.
Remaining passengers on the flight were able to continue on with their travel plans or take a later flight.
“The health and safety of our employees and customers is our highest priority, which is why we have various policies and procedures in place such as mask mandates and requiring customers to complete a ‘Ready-to-Fly’ checklist before the flight,” United said in a statement.