An elderly woman has died after she fell ill on board a US-bound flight that turned around over the Atlantic and diverted to Shannon Airport this afternoon.
United Airlines flight UA-961 was travelling from Frankfurt, Germany to Newark in the US when the 71-year-old woman began to suffer breathing difficulties. It’s believed she suffered a cardiac arrest.
The flight was over two hours into its journey when the crew made contact with air traffic controllers in Ireland to advise them of their emergency.
A number of people jumped into action with several taking turns administering CPR. It’s understood that a defibrillator was also used while CPR continued for over 30 minutes.
The flight landed safely at 2.09pm and was met on arrival by fire crews who were standing by as a precaution.
The National Ambulance Service (NAS) dispatched an ambulance and rapid response advanced paramedic to the airport. However, the woman was pronounced dead shortly after the flight landed.
A Garda spokesman confirmed: “A passenger was pronounced dead after the flight landed at Shannon. The local coroner has been notified and the body was removed to University Hospital Limerick where a post-mortem examination will be carried out.”
Passenger Adam Lisberg, who was returning from a work trip to Frankfurt, said: “Several people went to help. There was oxygen used and an AED (automatic external defibrillator) was used at least once. I heard someone call ‘clear’.”
“A number of people took turns doing CPR for about 30 to 40 minutes but it was obvious it wasn’t doing any good. It’s a sad story but everyone did what they could,” Mr Lisberg added.
The flight is expected to continue to Newark shortly.