Nearly 100 passengers on a recent Spirit Airlines flight from Fort Lauderdale to Costa Rica were forced by crew members to walk over the body of an uncovered 83-year-old woman that perished shortly after takeoff, Your Content has learned.
Shortly before deplaning, passengers say the flight was ‘the definition of a living hell’ and ‘felt like a scene straight out of the movie Final Destination.’ What reads like the plot of a horror film, eye-witnesses claim untrained flight crew stood idle as frantic passengers performed CPR in an effort to save the elderly woman.
Nathalie Albino, who is certified on CPR and advanced cardiovascular life support, was on her way to plan her destination wedding in Costa Rica when she volunteered to help the unresponsive woman.
“The woman was moved to the emergency exit row in front of three other passengers. The passengers in the exit row were not directed to another area of the plane and sat in their seats while myself and three other medical personnel performed CPR for 35 minutes straight at their feet.” Nathalie Albino said.
“Not only were we unassisted by the flight crew in CPR, but it was clear that there were no policies or procedures in place for this occurrence. If there are, none of them were communicated by the staff.” Albino continued.
“The staff did not know what they had available to us, and gave us no instruction. We had to figure it out for ourselves as we went along.”
The airliner continued journeying to it’s destination despite the elderly woman in dire need of life saving measures that were available at several airports the jetliner passed during it’s voyage.
“Turning around would have resulted in taking longer to land.”Spirit Airlines Spokesperson Erik Hofmeyer
Passengers requested immediate assistance from the ground, but they assert the airliner refused to turn back or make an emergency landing as they believed it wouldn’t be of any help.
“They did not divert the plane, and continued directly to SJO in Costa Rica. We were told we had another 49 minutes remaining on the flight,” said Albino. “As we continued CPR it was evident that the woman would not be revived, and there was nothing we could do with the limited equipment we had.”
A doctor on the flight pronounced the 83-year-old woman dead at 1:10 p.m. “There was nothing else we could do to bring her back,” Albino said.
But Spirit Airlines spokesman Erik Hofmeyer vehemently denies any wrongdoing on the jetliner’s part, noting it would’ve taken too much time to land.
“We believe the flight attendants used every avenue available to help our guest,” Hofmeyer wrote in a statement. “Turning around would have resulted in taking longer to land.”
“The woman was also a Costa Rican national.”
Albino refutes the spokesman’s claim. The Broward Health Medical Center nurse advises the airline to spend more resources on training crew members how to handle emergency situations that could be prevented if properly assessed.
“The crew was not prepared for the emergency and had a hard time getting the necessary equipment prepared for the medical personnel to attend to the ill passenger,” Albino said. “It was clear that the woman was unresponsive and it was found that she did not have a pulse. CPR was needed as well as a defibrillator and any other medication or equipment that was available.”
“I am shocked that Spirit [Airlines] didn’t have a plan in place for an emergency like this … By the time the lawyers are done, they’ll wish they had”A. Charles Peruto, Jr.
When passengers were notified the jetliner was approaching it’s final destination, their nightmare worsened. Airline officials gave them an ultimatum: leave the corpse at the feet of the passengers at the emergency exit; or they could carry and buckle the dead woman back into her seat.
“We asked for a blanket to cover the now dead woman, and Spirit Airlines failed to provide one. We requested to move the dead woman away from the other passengers and Spirit was unable to do that as well,” Albino recalled.
The nurse also said passengers requested to move the dead woman from the center isle — as the corpse was sprawled out touching several other passengers — but the crew refused, unless they volunteered to place the perished passenger back into her assigned seat.
“I am shocked that Spirit [Airlines] didn’t have a plan in place for an emergency like this,” prominent Philadelphia attorney A. Charles Peruto, Jr. told Your Content. “By the time the lawyers are done, they’ll wish they had.”
“The alternative they offered was to put the corpse back in her seat, buckled in next to her friend”Nathalie Albino
“I just remember the flight attendant looking at me and she said, ‘No, we have to buckle her back into her seat,’” Albino said. “The only alternative they offered was to put the corpse of the woman back in her seat, buckled in next to her friend. There was no consideration or care from the airline attendants in this matter.”
Each passenger – including her son – had to step over the dead woman as they disembarked.
“It was pretty disrespectful,” Albino’s fiancé, Jonathan Bunda, who was also on the flight, said. “You know, imagine if it was your mother or grandmother.”
“The flight attendant that I was speaking to after this whole ordeal told me that he did not feel prepared,” Albino asserted.
Spirit Airlines’ spokesman Hofmeyer said Costa Rican law requires guests to leave the plane first.
“We deplaned first that was what we were required to do by law,” he said. “Saying that we forced people (out of the plane first) is a flat-out lie.”
“Once we landed, paramedics were on scene, but the corpse was not removed from the plane. Instead, each passenger had to disembark walking passed the dead woman’s corpse with no cover over her but her own sweater,” Albino recalled. “My two year old son, started asking: ‘Mommy, what’s that?'”
“Repeatedly and everything that happened really sunk in. I spent the rest of my trip going over everything that happened on the flight over and over again. The way that Spirit Airlines handled this situation was disgraceful and appalling.”
“People deserve to hear what can happen during an emergency on Spirit Airlines,” Albino continued, adding:
“May that woman’s soul rest in peace and may her family know that we did everything we could. I hope in sharing this that Spirit Airlines equips their staff with proper procedures and education for handling emergency situations.”
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