- A man who tested positive for COVID-19 died on a United Airlines flight Monday
- Video shows CPR-trained individuals who were onboard rushing to help after the man was unable to breathe
- Photos also show concerned passengers attempting to help revive the man who was unconscious
- United 591 from Orlando, Florida bound for Los Angeles diverted to New Orleans 90 minutes into the flight
- Since the incident happened, it has been confirmed by United and the CDC the man who died had coronavirus
- Passengers tweeted they saw the man having difficulty breathing before takeoff from Orlando
- United also say they believe man lied at check-in when asked if he had any COVID symptoms
Video has emerged of the desperate battle by fellow passengers to save a man’s life who had fallen unconscious while traveling on a flight from Orlando to Los Angeles.
In a terrifying ordeal for nearby passengers the man was seen on the plane shaking and sweating and having a hard time breathing even before the flight took off.
But once United Flight 591 was in the air, his condition deteriorated rapidly and the captain made the decision to perform an emergency landing in order for the man to receive medical attention.
Just over an hour into the flight, the passenger who was sitting in seat 28D stopped breathing.
The crew asked if there were any doctors onboard and a number of people with knowledge of CPR got up to help and rushed to the man’s aid in an attempt to revive him.
The footage, shot by fellow passengers shows three people taking turns to perform chest compressions on the man who has yet to be identified.
The unwell passenger was laid out in the aisle of the United Boeing 737-900 in full view of other concerned travelers while the three trained professionals administered CPR for almost an hour before the plane finally touched down in New Orleans in order for the man to be taken to hospital, where he later died.
Other passengers sitting in various parts of the crowded cabin took photos as the drama unfolded before them.
Medics from the New Orleans fire department were allowed on board once the plane had landed and further attempted to save him while his wife revealed within earshot of other travelers that her husband had been showing symptoms of COVID-19 for the past week, having lost his sense of taste and smell.
Some have detailed how during CPR, the man’s bones could be heard to crack as chest compressions were carried out before he started turning blue.
Tony Aldapa was one of the selfless passengers on board who helped perform chest compressions on the man.
‘I got up after seeing two other passengers already performing CPR. I let them know “Hey I know CPR” and asked “Do you need some extra help?” I can tap in and help with chest compressions. That’s how it all started.
‘By the point that I got there to the point where the fire department got on board, it was at least 45 minutes,’ Aldapa explained. ‘I continued to switch out with them until he was removed from the airplane.’
‘There was no mouth-to-mouth at all. We were doing chest compressions and they had him on the oxygen mask from the plane, then once we had a medical bag that is kept on board we used an ambu-bag which is a bag that you squeeze to give breaths, that’s what we used for breathing,’ he detailed.
Aldapa told DailyMail.com that despite the risk of contracting COVID, he continued to assist the man.
‘Regardless of if he had COVID or not he needed CPR. I would hope that anyone would do that same for me or my family if put in the same situation,’ he said.
The chest compressions continued for almost an hour and the three CPR-trained professionals were able to stay in the aisle while the plane touched down.
‘We all braced each other during the landing and the pilots did an amazing job making it as smooth as possible, honestly it was smoother than many of the flights I’ve been on, and the flight attendants did great letting us know how close we were to landing and when exactly to brace.’
Aldapa says that he managed to keep his cool through the mid-air drama thanks to his military background.
‘I received some amazing training in the Navy and through my previous job at Strategic Operations, Inc in San Diego that I feel prepared me mentally to handle any kind of emergency. Obviously it was stressful, but at the end of the day I’m glad I had that training to pull from.’