Man Who Collapsed on Plane, Died, Did Have COVID

Coroner confirms cause of death for man on United Airlines flight
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2020 2:31 AM CST
Man Who Collapsed on Plane, Died, Did Have COVID
In this Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019 file photo, a United Airlines Boeing 737 Max airplane takes off in the rain at Renton Municipal Airport in Renton, Wash.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Just as many of his fellow passengers feared, the man who collapsed during a United Airlines flight last week, later being pronounced dead at a hospital, did indeed have COVID-19. The coroner's office lists the 69-year-old Los Angeles man's cause of death as acute respiratory failure and COVID, ABC News reports. He was en route from Orlando back to LA when he collapsed, with many passengers reporting that he'd been having difficulty breathing since boarding the flight, NBC News reports. Some also reported they heard his wife say he had been symptomatic for a week and was going home to get tested for the virus. The flight was diverted to New Orleans, then continued on to California after paramedics took the man off the plane.

United says it has given all passenger information to the CDC and that the agency will reach out to anyone who may have been exposed, but some passengers tell ABC they are experiencing symptoms and have not been contacted by the CDC. Sources say the man filled out a pre-travel questionnaire in which he testified he had not experienced any coronavirus-like symptoms in the previous two weeks, and a United rep confirms that it "appears" he answered the required form incorrectly. An EMT who performed CPR on the man mid-flight says he is now experiencing coronavirus symptoms, NOLA reports. He and two other passengers switched off helping for about 45 minutes, he tells CBS LA. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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