25-Year-Old Woman Dies on Plane & Frightening Questions Are Raised

window seatThere are more questions than answers now, but the heartbreaking fact is that a 25-year-old woman who was flying from Sao Paolo, Brazil, to Dallas, Texas died en route this morning. American Airlines Flight 96 made an emergency stop in Houston after she was in medical distress, and she was pronounced dead shortly after landing.

According to ABC, a physician happened to be on the flight and tried to help along with crew members to save her, but they weren't successful. Her identity hasn't been released, and all the airline is saying is that she became ill and there was no sign of trauma or any indication of foul play. International Science Times, however, questions whether it could have been a homicide as homicide detectives are involved in the case, and she was coming from Sao Paulo which is known for its deadly drug problems. That could certainly add an even more terrifying twist to this tragedy.

I'm a pretty nervous flier anyway. Mostly because I worry about things like falling from the sky to my death and terrorists, but the thought of a medical emergency (or an attempted murder!) occurring when you're unable to call 911 and thousands of feet in the air is terrifying. I know the odds are with me, and I wouldn't limit my travels because of my fears, but this case certainly puts one more what if in my mind.

More from The Stir: Woman Forced to Sit Next to Dead Man in 10-Hour Flight From Hell

It's not the first time someone has died in flight either. In June, a woman was forced to sit next to the body of a man who died on board during a 10-hour flight.  And in September a 64-year-old woman died on a flight from Seoul, South Korea to New York. Sure death is unpredictable and can happen anywhere, but it just seems especially tragic when happens like this, and in this case to someone so young. An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow, and it will be interesting to see what the results reveal.

While of course our greatest sympathies are with this woman and her family, I also can't help but think how terrifying it must have been for those other passengers on the plane too. To see something like this happening in such a small, enclosed space has got to be unnerving and forever change their flying experiences.

Have you ever been on a plane when someone was in medical distress?

Image via Robert Raines/Flickr


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Saphi... SaphiraJFire

Unfortunately she was probably a drug mule who really needed the money or something. its very sad way to die but happens a lot more than you think just not in flight is all.



nonmember avatar jordan whitehea

in 1979 on the way to london, a passenger had a heart attack. We were 2 hours over the atlantic at the time and had to turn around. Closest airport was in maine. we were on the ground there for a few hours. pretty sure thatglenn campbell was on the same flight

Zangr... Zangrilli

There are a myriad of reasons a 26-yr-old could die on an airplane, not including drugs.  Blood clot, aneuryism, stroke, etc.  So silly that people jump to conclusions, we'll know soon enough.  I think people get scared when someoneto so young dies of natural causes, that they try to make up unnatural causes to make themselves feel better.

pupuk... pupukeawahine

People die, the only difference about it being on a plane is that it is difficult to whisk them away, out of sight.  Unless a murder occurred on the plane, no, I would not be afraid.  Death is a part of life.

nonmember avatar delia

My friend was in the flight she was in. If she had drugs, why do we have to go through all those freaking machines and take our shoes off? She was living and studying in here guys, let's not judge people just because they are foreigners.

nonmember avatar Nurse

Peanut allergy.

nonmember avatar Abby

A girl starting convulsing and foaming at the mouth and peeing herself next to me on a greyhound bus once. After that she went unresponsive. We pulled over in the middle of no where and waited for paramedics to get her. I felt bad that I didn't notice anything sooner, but it was a night bus and I was asleep for most of it and figured she was too. Along with other reasons, I won't be riding on a greyhound ever again.

nonmember avatar Nannie

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Pattie Voelker

Yes My Mother and I were on a plan up in the front row of the plane. Directly across from us was a very elderly man who had been sitting in a wheelchair in the airport and who was seated in the front bulkhead seats with his 2 daughters. He looked very ill in the airport. We were midway in our trip when a great deal of commotion happened. They were asking if anyone on the plane was a doctor and asking for help. They were directly across from us and in full sight. The family laid him down on the seats and sat on the floor. At some point the gentleman either went into a coma or passed away. The airlines tried to be as gracious as possible to the family and poor gentleman, trying to provide some kind of privacy. They did make an emergency landing and removed the gentleman and family from the plane alone with the luggage from down under. It was tragic for them. It was scary for us. My mother was 85 years old and we were going up north to visit my father who was 90 and who was in the hospital from a nursing home. We knew it may be our last time to see him so it struck a sad note for us.
A few months later, we both received a letter from the airlines thanking the passengers for their patience, apologizing for the inconvenience, and giving us each a $100 Coupon for our next trip. They handled it in the most professional way possible.

Dorothy Morehead

I was on a plane from Jordan to NYC with the mayor of a Jordanian town who had had his feet blown off and was to undergo surgery in the US. Another time I and two seatmates had moved to a different part of the plane to watch the movie. We heard the flight attendant ask for a doctor and later were approached to ask us if we would remain in the seats where we watched the movie because Rex Reed was sleeping in our vacated seats, having been given a sedative.

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