There 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