Passengers who were onboard a United Airlines flight from Orlando to Los Angeles during which a man died from coronavirus have shared photographs that depict the utter chaos on board.
Panicked passengers sitting in various parts of the crowded cabin took photos as the drama unfolded before them which saw paramedics attempt to revive the passenger who was pronounced dead shortly after an emergency landing in New Orleans.
Medics who were allowed on board once the plane had landed attempted to save him while his wife revealed within earshot of other travelers that her husband had been showing symptoms of COVID-19 for the past week, having lost his sense of taste and smell.
A man who tested positive for COVID-19 died on a United Airlines flight Monday. Above, photos show the chaos on board after the man was unable to breathe and later died
Concerned passengers and crew surround the man who was sitting in seat 28D on the flight
In a terrifying ordeal for nearby passengers the man was seen on the plane shaking and sweating and having a hard time breathing even before the flight took off.
Once in the air, his condition deteriorated rapidly and the captain made the decision to perform an emergency landing in order for the man to receive medical attention.
Tony Aldapa was one of the passengers on board who helped perform CPR on the man
Just over an hour into the flight, the passenger who was sitting in seat 28D stopped breathing.
The crew asked if there were any doctors onboard and a number of people got up to help.
Some have detailed how during CPR, his bones could be heard to crack as chest compressions were carried out before he started turning blue.
Tony Aldapa was one of the passengers on board who helped perform CPR on the man.
‘I got up out of my seat, let them know “Hey I know CPR” and asked “Do you need some extra help?” I can tap in and help with chest compressions. That’s how it all started.
‘By the point that I got there to the point where the fire department got on board, it was at least 45 minutes,’ Aldapa explained.
‘There was no mouth-to-mouth at all. We were doing chest compressions and they had him on the oxygen mask from the plane, then once we had a medical bag that is kept on board we used an ambu-bag which is a bag that you squeeze to give breaths, that’s what we used for breathing,’ he detailed.
Aldapa detailed on Twitter how he took part in the attempt to save the man’s life while on board the flight to Los Angeles
Aldapa detailed his actions on board the flight and noted that he had also since become symptomatic for the virus
On Saturday night, on Twitter, Aldapa went into further details as to why he decided to get involved and what happened after the man had been removed from the aircraft
On Saturday night, on Twitter, Aldapa went into further details as to why he decided to get involved and what happened after the man had been removed from the aircraft.
‘By now most of you know I was on the United flight that has been in the news. I made the decision to attempt to save the passengers life and along with 2 others performed CPR for close to an hour until we landed. And continued to help the firefighters when they came onboard.
‘I knew the risks involved in performing CPR on someone that potentially has COVID but I made the choice to do so anyways. I spoke with the passengers wife about his medical history and she never mentioned he was positive, she said he was scheduled to have a test done in LA.
‘I spent the remainder of the flight covered in my own sweat and in that man’s urine. I have since become symptomatic myself and am awaiting the results of my second test. I have not been contacted by the airline or by CDC as of this time.
‘Looking back I would not change my actions, but I may have stepped up earlier. Knowing I had the knowledge, training and experience to help out, I could not have sat idly by and watched someone die.’
Paramedics can be seen attempting to revive the man after the plane landed in New Orleans
While talking to EMTs in New Orleans, the man’s wife admitted that her husband had tested positive for coronavirus meaning he likely lied when checking in for the flight.
During check-in, all United passengers have to self-report on whether they have experienced any coronavirus symptoms.
After the passenger was offloaded in New Orleans, his seat was wiped down, and the plane, a Boeing 737-900 with capacity for 179 people, continued its journey to Los Angeles.
In a statement to DailyMail.com United Airlines has confirmed that it was contacted by the CDC, and was informed that the man did have coronavirus.
‘Our flight diverted to New Orleans due to a medical emergency and paramedics transported the passenger to a local hospital where the individual was pronounced deceased. We have been in touch with his family and have extended our sincerest condolences to them for their loss.
‘At the time of the diversion, we were informed he had suffered a cardiac arrest, so passengers were given the option to take a later flight or continue on with their travel plans. Now that the CDC has contacted us directly, we are 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.
‘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 acknowledging they have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days and do not have COVID-related symptoms,’ the statement read.
Passengers who traveled on the fateful flight vented their frustrations with the airline on social media.
United 591 is seen arriving at Los Angeles airport, after a passenger died on leaving Orlando
The plane, pictured at the gate in LA, made an emergency stop in New Orleans and the man was pronounced dead. The plane, and all its passengers, then continued to Los Angeles
A United flight from Orlando to Los Angeles Monday was diverted due to a medical emergency
‘Can I ask how you guys let a covid positive man on my flight last night?’ said one woman.
‘He was shaking and sweating boarding the plane. He was clearly sick and then died mid flight. We had an emergency landing in New Orleans and we didn’t even switch planes afterwards.
‘We all sat there for hours waiting while you guys cleaned up his blood and germs with wet wipes. Is this how you guys handle other people’s safety and health?’
She said that the airline’s claim that they believed he had a heart attack was ‘laughable’, adding: ‘There was never any mention of we are diverting this flight because of cardiac arrest reasons.
‘Everyone was aware this was COVID related because the wife was relaying his medical information, and shared he was in fact COVID positive and symptomatic for over a week. That is them covering up the fact that they handled this situation poorly.’
One passenger tweeted how they were traumatized as they watched the medical emergency unfold
Another passenger tweeted their anger that the seat in which the man had been sitting was wiped down with wet wipes rather than a full disinfection procedure
One traveler explained how the man’s wife detailed how her husband had been experiencing coronavirus symptoms
Another woman, named Shay, also tweeted angrily at United, accusing them of failing to check on the passengers before boarding, and criticizing the man and his wife for flying.
‘United, why did you never check our temperatures before boarding?’ she tweeted.
‘The family of the man, why didn’t you go to the hospital or not let your husband get on the flight feeling like that?
‘An entire plane had to watch him seize or have a heart attack none of us know which, and die.’
Shay said she noticed the man having breathing difficulties.
‘I made eye contact with his wife and looked at him and she just looked down,’ Shay said.
She said the medical team on board tried to revive him for an hour.
‘The family was crying, people were freaking out,’ she said.
‘He was shocked twice, given an epi-pen, 2 shots of adrenaline and mouth to mouth after chest compressions…’
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asked United for the passenger manifest so other passengers can be informed that they might have been exposed to a disease, spokesman Charles Hobart said.
The passenger had filled out a form before the flight saying he had not tested positive for COVID-19 and had no symptoms of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, according to the airline.
‘It is apparent the passenger wrongly acknowledged this requirement,’ United said.
The CDC is collecting information to decide whether further public health action is appropriate, an agency spokesman said.
All four flight attendants were quarantined for two weeks once they arrived at Los Angeles, ‘per written guidelines,’ said Taylor Garland, spokeswoman for Association of Flight Attendants.
‘Our union continues to provide support to the crew,’ Garland said.
‘We urge passengers to comply with airline COVID policies and stay home if you’re sick.’
The man was taken to a hospital in New Orleans where he was pronounced dead, according to the airline.
Hobart said United originally was told that he died from heart trouble, so passengers were allowed to stay on the plane and complete the flight to Los Angeles or take a later flight.
The airline said all passengers stayed on the plane.