United passenger who died after suffering 'medical emergency' on flight reportedly had COVID-related symptoms

By WWL

A passenger with a "medical emergency" on a United Airlines flight, which was diverted to New Orleans International Airport on Monday, has died at a hospital.

As USA Today reports, United Airlines confirmed the passenger on flight 591 from Orlando to Los Angeles had COVID-19 like symptoms but did not confirm if the passenger tested positive or if the virus was the cause of death.

Flight 591 continued to its final destination after making an emergency landing in New Orleans.

The airline said in a statement that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was contacted about the incident for contact tracing to begin.

A United spokesperson tells WWLTV that the passenger suffered what appeared to be a heart attack in mid-flight.

At the time, the patient’s wife was overheard telling EMTs that her husband experienced symptoms of COVID-19, according to an airline official.

It is not yet confirmed if the patient had COVID-19.

Below is the statement from United per USA Today:

"At the time of the diversion, we were informed he had suffered a cardiac arrest, so passengers were given the option to take a later flight or continue on with their travel plans,'' the statement, provided by United spokesman Charles Hobart, said.

"Now that the CDC has contacted us directly, we are sharing requested information with the agency so they can work with local health officials to conduct outreach to any customer the CDC believes may be at risk for possible exposure or infection.

"The health and safety of our employees and customers is our highest priority, which is why we have various policies and procedures in place such as mask mandates and requiring customers to complete a ‘Ready-to-Fly’ checklist before the flight acknowledging they have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days and do not have COVID-related symptoms."

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