Man Dies on United Flight, Accounts Conflict

PHOTO: An Airbus A319 jet painted in United Continental Holdings Inc.s new livery following the airlines merger taxis down the runway at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Feb. 23, 2011.

The circumstances surrounding the death of a man on a United Airlines flight to Utah earlier this week are conflicting.

United confirmed that a passenger died on flight 5596 en route from Denver to Salt Lake City.

A passenger on the flight who is also a combat medic with the Army Reserve told a KSL TV in Salt Lake City he assisted with CPR in the aisle of the aircraft Monday until paramedics arrived on landing.

Jared Noall told the station he noticed a passenger snoring loudly two rows away. The man moved and the snoring stopped. It was only when the lights went on Noall said he could tell something was wrong. A defibrillator was retrieved and three people, including Noall, traded off performing CPR.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires all airlines carry at least one Automated External Defibrillator (AED) on each flight.

However, the airline relays a slightly different version of events. A United spokeswoman told ABC News that the customer collapsed on the aircraft after arrival in Salt Lake City. "We immediately notified paramedics and they arrived to assist the customer, however we later learned that the customer was not revived," the airline said in an email. "As United is committed to the privacy of its passengers, we are unable to convey any further information about the customer."

This is at least the fourth instance of a passenger dying on an aircraft in the last eight months. In January, an American Airlines flight en route from Sao Paolo, Brazil to Dallas-Fort Worth Airport in Texas was diverted to Houston when a 25-year-old woman became ill. Members of the flight crew, aided by a physician who happened to be on board, began performing emergency medical procedures as the plane changed course to land in Houston. Shortly after landing, the woman was pronounced dead.

In September, a 64-year-old woman on a Korean Airlines flight from Seoul, South Korea died on a flight bound for New York's John F. Kennedy Airport.

In June, a man died on a Kenya Airways flight from Amsterdam to Tanzania. The man was reportedly sweating and having seizures before flight but the plane took off anyway.

In that case, the cabin crew reportedly laid the body across three seats and partially covered it, but another passenger, Lena Pettersson, was forced to sit across the aisle from it for the rest of the flight.

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