Woman Sits Next to Dead Boyfriend for 9 Hours on Plane


airplane seatsA flight from Singapore to New Zealand, or any 10 1/2-hour flight, isn't fun times. The sitting, the waiting, the having to pee, the sitting more. In two words, it sucks. But what if you had to sit next to a dead body for the entire duration of the flight? You're right if you think that would make flying suck even harder.

That's what happened to Vanessa Preechakul, though. See, she and her boyfriend, Robert Rippingale, were flying to his native New Zealand to celebrate his parents' 50th birthdays when an hour and a half into the Jetstar flight, he started choking on his beef and chicken dinner. Despite the doctor and two nurses who rushed to try to save him, he died. And Vanessa sat next to him for the next nine hours.

What happened was this: After Rippingale passed, crew members covered his body and removed him to a crew rest area. But then Preechakul asked to sit next to his body for the remainder of the flight. "I had to cope -- I had no choice," she said.

When I first heard this little tale, my initial reaction was, "Creepy. Why would you want to sit next to a dead body for nine hours?" But the more I thought about it, the more I sort of realized -- I would probably do the same thing.

An airplane is one of the worst places to have to deal with death -- impending death, recent death, any death. Because there's not a damn thing that you can do. You are basically being held hostage. So, the thought of sitting alone in your assigned seat on a plane -- with everyone staring at you -- after your loved one died? Yeah, no thanks. I'd be right there with Vanessa, in a private section of the plane to deal with my emotions, and to pretend like I had some control over the situation.

Would you sit next to a dead person on a plane?


Image via David McKelvey/Flickr

airplanes, death


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cocob... cocobeannns

I would. As creepy as it sounds, if this were me and my fiance had passed, I would want to be next to him.

Mandi... Mandi1215

Yes I would sit with my loved ones body. It's not creepy.

Krista DeWeese

What happened to the heimlich maneuver? Doesn't everyone know how to do this? You need to learn.

lovin... lovinallofthem

how absolutely HORRIFIC to have to watch your fiance DIE over stupid, nasty airplane food!!!  to be so far from good help , to lose your mate... i cant imagine that kind of grief, despair, sadness... and i had to sit by my dad as he died over 2 days in a hospital and THAT was horrific, traumatizing, sad.....  i would also sit right by him til we landed, bawling and wailing probably but i'd be right there...just as i was for my dad and just as i would be for any one i love....


beyon... beyond.eden22

If it was my husband or one of our sons that had passed, I would definitely sit next to them. I would want to, even though it IS pretty creepy. I guess it would just help me to cope a little bit better.

dirti... dirtiekittie

i would also want to be next to them. i don't think i could stand the thought of them being alone, even if i'm the only one who thinks they're 'alone'. and how terribly tragic! :(

Lisa Joan Garland

yes, i would definitely sit with my loved one who'd just passed....i would need that time alone and to relive the time we'd shared.  not creepy at all.  if anything's creepy, it's the fact that, even with the nurses and doctor on board, they could not save him.  choking?  heimlech?  that's disturbing.  poor soul, my sympathies to his family and girlfriend. 

Amy Bradley-Hole

If it was someone I cared about, yes, I'd probably want to be with them.

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