New Zealander Robert Rippingale, 31, had been watching a movie and eating his in-flight meal on the Jetstar flight to Auckland last week when his girlfriend, Vanessa Preechakul, noticed that he seemed to be in distress. A physician and two nurses who happened to be on board rushed to help him, but were unable to save him. He was declared dead some 90 minutes into the 11-hour flight.
COMMENT: According to the victim's father, he was known to have a heart condition. Hence, an autopsy has been scheduled by Auckland authorities. Jetstar, the budget offshoot of Australia's biggest carrier Qantas, moved Rippingale's to a curtained-off crew rest area where Preechakul was able to sit with him for the rest of the flight. It was determined in discussion with Preechakul that it would be best to continue the flight to Auckland considering that Rippingale's family lives there.
As I have mentioned in other postings, all travelers are urged to have annual comprehensive medical examinations in order to be alert to serious health risks that may exist and arise while traveling, particularly when access to emergency medical care is not available (e.g., on a long-haul flight).