Flight Attendant Dies Suddenly Mid-Air After Suffering Medical Emergency at 34,000 Feet


A flight attendant on a Gulf Air flight died suddenly of a heart attack during a flight from Bahrain to Paris on Tuesday.

The pilots on flight GF-19 were forced to make an emergency landing in Erbil, the capital city of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, when air steward Yasser Saleh Al Yazidi was taken ill.

He was rushed to a hospital immediately after the emergency landing, but was pronounced dead on arrival.

“The national carrier expresses its deepest condolences to the crew member’s family and loved ones, and confirms that the flight resumed to Paris as scheduled,” the state-owned airline of Bahrain said in a statement, according to the U.K.’s Daily Mail. “Gulf Air reassures that the safety of its passengers and crew comes at the top of its priorities, and thanks the affected flight’s passengers for their patience and understanding.”

The flight was reportedly grounded for about four hours before proceeding to Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport.

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“The director of the Erbil airport Ahmed Hoshyar told local media the plane was at 34,000 feet over Iraq when the man became ill,” The U.S. Sun reported.

No other health information regarding the deceased was released. His age was also unreported.

An emergency landing is generally required in such situations, the Daily Mail said, because flight crews have first aid training but not always the equipment needed to deal with all medical emergencies.

Three days earlier, an American Airlines flight was forced to return to its take-off location after the aircraft’s pilot suffered a medical emergency in-flight.

“We need to return. Captain is incapacitated,” the aircraft’s copilot told air traffic control.

American Eagle Flight 3556 had departed Chicago O’Hare Airport Saturday night.

The flight of 57 passengers was originally bound for Columbus, Ohio, according to CNBC.

The flight was conducted by Envoy Air, a smaller company owned by American Airlines. The company confirmed that the pilot in question later died at a hospital.

“Despite heroic efforts by those on board and first responders on the ground, our colleague passed away at the hospital,” Envoy said in a statement. “We’re deeply saddened and are doing all we can to support his family and our colleagues at this time.”

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The medical emergency occurred soon after the flight’s departure. American Eagle Flight 3556 returned to O’Hare 37 minutes after takeoff, according to CNBC.

The pilot’s cause of death was not reported.

The Federal Aviation Administration was investigating the circumstances of the in-flight emergency, according to CBS News.

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George Upper is the former Editor-in-Chief of The Western Journal and was a weekly co-host of "WJ Live," powered by The Western Journal. He is currently a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. A former U.S. Army special operator, teacher and consultant, he is a lifetime member of the NRA and an active volunteer leader in his church. Born in Foxborough, Massachusetts, he has lived most of his life in central North Carolina.
George Upper, is the former editor-in-chief of The Western Journal and is now a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. He currently serves as the connections pastor at Awestruck Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a former U.S. Army special operator, teacher, manager and consultant. Born in Massachusetts, he graduated from Foxborough High School before joining the Army and spending most of the next three years at Fort Bragg. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in English as well as a Master's in Business Administration, all from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He and his wife life only a short drive from his three children, their spouses and his grandchildren. He is a lifetime member of the NRA and in his spare time he shoots, reads a lot of Lawrence Block and John D. MacDonald, and watches Bruce Campbell movies. He is a fan of individual freedom, Tommy Bahama, fine-point G-2 pens and the Oxford comma.
Foxborough, Massachusetts
Beta Gamma Sigma
B.A., English, UNCG; M.A., English, UNCG; MBA, UNCG
North Carolina
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Business, Leadership and Management, Military, Politics