8-Year-Old Dies After Medical Emergency on SkyWest Airlines Flight

By Ivan PetrenkoJun 16, 2024 20:00 PMNews
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American Eagle gets you there. Source: unsplash

A young girl tragically passed away after becoming unresponsive on a United Express flight operated by SkyWest Airlines. The incident occurred on Thursday, June 13, during a flight from Joplin, Missouri, to Chicago, Illinois.

Here is What Happened

The medical emergency happened on SkyWest Airlines flight UA5121, which departed Joplin Regional Airport (JLN) at 06:03, scheduled to arrive at Chicago O'Hare International (ORD) at 07:54. About 40 minutes into the flight, the plane diverted for an emergency landing at Peoria International Airport (PIA) in Illinois around 07:00.

According to the Peoria County Sheriff's Office, deputies, AMT personnel, and Air National Guard Fire personnel responded immediately when the plane landed. They began life-saving measures on the 8-year-old girl, who was transported to OSF Healthcare Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria. Unfortunately, despite the aggressive resuscitative efforts, she was pronounced deceased at 8:05 am.

The child was identified as Sydney Weston from Carl Junction, Missouri. She was traveling with her family for a vacation when she suddenly fell ill and became unresponsive mid-flight. The flight crew was quick to respond and provide assistance, but the efforts were ultimately unsuccessful.

The Aftermath So Far

An autopsy was conducted on Friday, but initial results were inconclusive. Coroner Jamie Harwood reported that further studies, including biopsies, toxicology, blood hematology and chemistry, histology, and assorted cultures, would be required to determine the cause of death. Preliminary findings showed no evidence of foul play or signs of abuse or neglect, but additional testing is expected to take four to six weeks to complete.

The aircraft involved in the incident was a 2003 Mitsubishi CRJ-200LR, registration N207PS. After the emergency landing, passengers were transferred to another Mitsubishi CRJ-200LR, registration N983SW, which ferried them to Chicago O'Hare, arriving at 13:20 on Thursday. The original aircraft later continued its scheduled operations, departing PIA at 16:09 and arriving at ORD at 16:44. It resumed normal service the following day.

Respecting the Family and Responders

This tragic event highlights the unpredictability of medical emergencies during flights and the importance of quick and efficient responses from airline crew and emergency personnel. Our thoughts are with Sydney Weston’s family during this difficult time, as well as with the crew and responders who worked tirelessly to try to save her life.

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