An emergency medical technician did everything he could to try to save a fellow passenger on a recent United Airlines flight. The EMT is being lauded as a hero after he performed CPR on a man who allegedly had coronavirus symptoms and later died of cardiac arrest.
During a United Airlines flight with nearly 200 people onboard from Orlando to Los Angeles on Monday, a passenger suffered a medical emergency. The man was shaking and sweating mid-flight, and then he lost consciousness.
Tony Aldapa, an EMT, jumped into action and started performing CPR on the man in distress. Aldapa and two others performed CPR on the man for nearly an hour.
"It was all kinda just second nature to see someone in a bad place, you try to bring them out of the bad place," Aldapa told KCAL-TV. "There were three of us that were essentially tag-teaming doing chest compressions, probably about 45 minutes."
Instead of doing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, they used a compressible oxygen bag to help the dying man breathe, Aldapa told TMZ.
The Los Angeles-bound United Flight 591 was diverted to New Orleans, where the plane made an emergency landing. The man was taken to a local hospital, but he died of cardiac arrest, according to United Airlines.
Aldapa said that the man's wife informed him that he was experiencing coronavirus symptoms before the flight.
"She told me he had symptoms, he was short of breath and she just wanted to get him home and they plan on getting tested this week," Aldapa told the television station.
Megan Hubbard, a passenger on the flight, claimed that the man's wife said that her husband had COVID-19 symptoms.
"She had stated to everyone that was around us, we all heard, that he tested for COVID last week and that he had symptoms like he had trouble breathing, loss of taste and loss of smell," Hubbard told KCAL. "He was like having a hard time breathing. He didn't look well at all."
CDC Investigating Possible COVID Exposure On LAX-Bound Flight After Passenger Dies www.youtube.com
Now, Aldapa is concerned that he may have coronavirus because he is experiencing symptoms of the respiratory disease.
"Essentially, I just feel like I got hit by a train," he told KCAL. "I had a cough, my whole body still hurt, I had a headache."
Despite the sickness, Aldapa said he does not regret anything.
"Knowing I had the knowledge, training and experience to help out, I could not have sat idly by and watched someone die," he reportedly wrote on Twitter. "I knew the risks involved in performing CPR on someone that potentially has COVID, but I made the choice to do so anyways."
United Airlines released a statement that reads, "We are sharing requested information with the (CDC) so they can work with local health officials to conduct outreach to any customer the CDC believes may be at risk for possible exposure or infection."