Passenger Death Goes Unnoticed
— A United Airlines passenger died flying from Hong Kong to Singapore but flight attendants didn't notice until after the plane had landed and they tried to wake him, the carrier said today.
The man was a U.S. citizen who lived in the United States but neither United Airlines nor the U.S. Embassy in Singapore would release his identity or hometown, citing airline policy and privacy rules.
The South China Morning Post said the man was from New Jersey but gave no identity or hometown.
Passengers Noticed After Plane Landed
The South China Morning Post reported the man died Friday and was first noticed to be unconscious by the passenger sitting behind him in economy class on Fight UA1, which goes from Los Angeles to Hong Kong and then to Singapore.
"As we all got up to get off the plane, I looked down on him and he was slumped over and looked really asleep," the newspaper quoted the passenger as saying.
"I punched him in the arm a few times but he didn't move," said the passenger, who was not identified by the newspaper.
The newspaper quoted the passenger as saying he told a flight attendant that the man near him was unconscious but she had not checked on the man by the time the seats in that part of the jet were clearing out.
An 'Unfortunate Incident' Says United
United issued a terse statement on the "unfortunate incident" on Flight UA1.
"Upon arrival in Singapore, United's flight crew was made aware of a customer who was not responding to attempts to wake him," United said. "Flight attendants tried in vain to wake the passenger, and then acted quickly to contact local medical personnel as additional United crew members tried to revive the customer."
United said its staff had "acted professionally and in accordance with local and airline regulations."
The passenger who spoke to the South China Morning Post said that before the man died, he had gotten up several times during the three and a-half hour flight.
"He was kind of overweight and he didn't look so good," the man was quoted as saying. "He had wide eyes and was almost ashen-faced. He was sweating a lot and I thought he might have had a long flight from Los Angeles or maybe he'd drunk too much."
At the U.S. Embassy in Singapore, spokesman Thomas Gradisher confirmed a U.S. citizen who was about 50 died on the flight.
An autopsy has been performed, but results were not yet available and the body was returned to the United States early this week, Gradisher said.
Copyright © 2001 ABC News Internet Ventures.