Woman dies on board AirTran flight: officials

June 26th, 2009 - 3:47 am ICT by admin  

PHILADELPHIA (BNO NEWS) — An AirTran Airways passenger plane made an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport on Thursday after an elderly woman died on board, officials say.

The flight, AirTran Airways flight 664, departed Westchester County Airport in New York at 1.18 p.m. local time and was bound for West Palm Beach International Airport in Florida when one of the passenger reported heart problems to the flight attendant.

The captain of the plane, which is a Boeing 717-200, then declared an emergency and was diverted to Philadelphia International Airport. “There was a doctor on board who began tending to the patient, but unfortunately the passenger did pass away,” a spokeswoman for AirTran Airways told BNO News.

The exact time of death was not immediately known but the spokeswoman said it appeared she died only minutes before the plane landed at the airport, possibly during landing. The plane touched down safely at 2.09 p.m. local time.

Officials say the passenger was an 80-year-old female who was traveling with her sister to Florida. Her name was not released pending further family notification.

During landing, the plane also blew a tire, according to the airline. As of 4 p.m. EDT, the plane was still at the airport and is awaiting a maintenance crew to change tire number 4 before it will continue its journey to Florida. The deceased and her sister have since been removed from the aircraft.

The FAA confirmed that the flight was diverted because of an “unresponsive passenger” but referred to the airline for more information. The plane was carrying a total of 117 passengers.

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