United Airlines passenger who performed CPR on dying Covid-19 victim says he'd do it again: 'I knew the risks'

The unidentified man who was traveling in the flight from Orlando to LA died after an emergency landing in New Orleans


                            United Airlines passenger who performed CPR on dying Covid-19 victim says he'd do it again: 'I knew the risks'
(Getty Images)
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Passengers of a United Airlines flight from Orlando to Los Angeles were left horrified when a fellow flyer fell unconscious an hour into the flight. The unidentified man reportedly had coronavirus symptoms and was seen “shaking and sweating” before take-off. But when the man fell off his seat, some of the passengers did not care about the risk to their lives as they performed CPR on him for nearly an hour before an emergency landing in New Orleans, The Sun reported. The desperate attempt to save the man was captured on phone cameras by other flyers. But the suspected Covid-19 victim was declared dead at a hospital in New Orleans. Tony Aldapa was one of the brave passengers who performed CPR on the man. According to the Daily Mail, Aldapa said, “I got up out of my seat, let them know ‘Hey I know CPR’ and asked ‘Do you need some extra help?’ By the point that I got there to the point where the fire department got on board, it was at least 45 minutes.” 

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Aldapa, who an EMT, said he has since come down with symptoms of the virus himself but asserted that he's do the same thing again. 

Explaining further, Aldapa stated: “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 onboard we used an ambu-bag which is a bag that you squeeze to give breaths, that's what we used for breathing.” He also took to Twitter where he gave details about the incident. His Twitter thread read, “By now most of you know I was on the @united flight that has been in the news. I made the decision to attempt to save the passengers life and along with 2 others performed CPR for close to an hour until we landed. And continued to help the firefighters when they came onboard.

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“I knew the risks involved in performing CPR on someone that potentially has COVID but I made the choice to do so anyways. I spoke with the passengers wife about his medical history and she never mentioned he was positive, she said he was scheduled to have a test done in LA. I spent the remainder of the flight covered in my own sweat and in that man's urine. I have since become symptomatic myself and am awaiting the results of my second test. I have not been contacted by the airline or by @CDCgov as of this time. Looking back I would not change my actions, but I may have stepped up earlier. Knowing I had the knowledge, training and experience to help out, I could not have sat idly by and watched someone die.”

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Meanwhile, United Airlines said in a statement that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) contacted them and told them that the man had coronavirus. “Our flight diverted to New Orleans due to a medical emergency and paramedics transported the passenger to a local hospital where the individual was pronounced deceased. We have been in touch with his family and have extended our sincerest condolences to them for their loss. 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. 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.

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"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,” the statement added.

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