Last Friday, American Airlines passenger Carine Desir died aboard a flight between Haiti and New York. Desir, who had heart disease and wasn’t feeling well when she boarded the flight, began to have trouble breathing and asked for oxygen before dying.
Accounts of what happened next diverge at this point. In its press release, American says there were 12 oxygen tanks onboard, and that each had been checked before take-off by flight attendants. But this ABC News story, which draws on the account of Desir’s cousin who was flying with her, paints a different picture, one in which the oxygen tanks were empty, the defibrillator broken, and the flight attendant initially unwilling to give Desir oxygen.
The thought of a medical emergency in the sky is scary enough, but the possibility that, in such an emergency, the standard medical tools passengers count on wouldn’t even function is profoundly unsettling. Meanwhile, American says it’s investigating.