United passenger on flight to LAX died of COVID-19, respiratory failure, coroner says

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Tuesday, December 22, 2020
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A passenger who collapsed on a packed flight to Los Angeles died of acute respiratory failure and COVID-19, a coroner's report confirms.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A United Airlines passenger who collapsed on a packed flight from Orlando to Los Angeles International Airport died of acute respiratory failure and COVID-19, a coroner's report confirms.

The report was released Monday by the Jefferson Parish Coroner's Office in Louisiana, and says the 69-year-old L.A. resident died at Ochsner Medical Center-Kenner at 9:09 p.m. Dec. 14.

United Flight 591 from Orlando to LAX was diverted during a medical emergency after a man suffered what was initially deemed a heart attack. The plane had to make an emergency landing in New Orleans.

RELATED: Concern mounting after EMT who helped man with COVID-like symptoms on United flight to LAX falls ill

Several passengers with medical experience stepped in to help resuscitate the man, including Tony Aldapa, an EMT who performed CPR on the passenger. Aldapa is now concerned that he may have contracted the potentially deadly virus.

He has since tested negative once and is awaiting results from a second test.

Passengers are questioning why the man was allowed to board the flight. They are all sharing the same story, saying the man's wife said her husband had tested positive for COVID-19 the week prior and displaying coronavirus-like symptoms.

United Airlines says passengers must certify that they do not have COVID-19 or any symptoms before they are allowed to board.

RELATED: United flight to LAX diverted due to medical emergency possibly linked to COVID-19