Three hours into a nine hour flight from Honolulu to New York, a Hawaiian Airlines A330 had a medical emergency on board. The flight diverted to San Francisco Thursday night after a flight attendant, Emile Griffith, fell ill, and required immediate medical attention.

According to passengers, doctors and other flight attendants performed CPR on Emile, but sadly, he did not survive.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Emile Griffith … who passed away while working on our flight between Honolulu and New York last night,” Hawaiian Air officials said in a statement Friday. “We are forever grateful tor Emile’s colleagues and good Samaritans on board who stayed by his side and provided extensive medical help.”

Author Andrea Bartz was on board the flight while on the ground in San Francisco,

“It’s been a long time since they asked for doctors to come to first class so I hope they’re okay,” she tweeted at the time. “First time I’ve ever had a flight diverted, somehow. Waiting for medics to board now.”

After the diversion, all passengers were booked on the first flights to New York, and announced that counselling services would be available to employees following the incident.

A memorial has been put together by co-workers in the Honolulu crew lounge.

Although it might seem rare, diverted flights are a common occurrence. The pilots have full control whether to divert a flight or not. Many factors go into making the decision, but the priority is on the urgency of the situation, and the safety of the passengers. Many events can cause a flight diversion, everything from weather, to medical emergencies, or even illegal activity! FlightAware, a flight tracking website, puts out a list every day of domestically diverted flights. Although more common in the general aviation, there is on average 2 domestically diverted flights in the United States a day.

 

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