ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A Texas woman died of COVID-19 while onboard a Spirit Airlines flight that was diverted to Albuquerque in late July. According to The Washington Post, on the evening of July 24, the flight left Las Vegas and was on its way to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
According to Stephanie Kitts, spokeswoman for the Albuquerque International Sunport, the flight had to be diverted to Albuquerque because the woman became unresponsive. Kitts states that the woman was dead by the time she arrived.
Spirit Airlines Director of Communications Erik Hofmeyer expressed sincere condolences to the family and friends of the woman who passed away. Regarding the incident, Hofmeyer stated that that the airline has protocols in place and that they comply with all Centers For Disease Control and Prevention requests for information and that contract tracing is performed by public health agencies.
“Our Flight Attendants have in-depth training to respond to medical emergencies and utilize several resources, including communicating with our designated on-call medical professionals on the ground, using onboard medical kits and personal protective equipment, and receiving assistance from credentialed medical personnel traveling on the flight,” said Hofmeyer in a statement.
While the woman has not been publicly identified, the Dallas County Judge’s Office that initially disclosed her death stated that she was in her 30s and had an underlying medical condition. It wasn’t until later that Albuquerque airport managers learned that the woman had COVID-19 so the incident was treated as a typical medical diversion according to Kitts. The woman was added to the Dallas County coronavirus death report on Sunday.
The Washington Post reports that it is unknown how many people were on the flight or whether any of the passengers were notified that they might have been exposed to coronavirus. Dallas officials first reported that the woman died in Arizona before confirming that she actually died in New Mexico.