A flight attendant died tragically after suffering a heart attack midair during a flight from Bahrain to Paris, according to authorities. Air steward Yasser Saleh Al Yazidi became ill on Tuesday around 1.40 am while he was attending to passengers on board Gulf Air aircraft GF-19 that left Bahrain International and was headed to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.
The Gulf Air flight GF-19's pilots were forced to make an emergency landing in Erbil, which is located in Iraq's Kurdistan region. A medical team was waiting to attend to the crew member who was immediately transported to a hospital, but he was pronounced dead upon arrival.
Ahmed Hoshyar, the director of the Erbil airport, told the Iraqi media that Yasser felt unwell while the plane was flying at a 34,000-foot height over Iraq. The plane remained grounded at Erbil's international airport for about four hours before the passengers could continue to the French capital.
"The national carrier expresses its deepest condolences to the crew member's family and loved ones, and confirms that the flight resumed to Paris as scheduled," a statement from Gulf Air read.
"Gulf Air reassures that the safety of its passengers and crew comes at the top of its priorities, and thanks the affected flight's passengers for their patience and understanding," the statement continued.
According to reports, passengers initially didn't realize that Yazidi had suffered a massive heart attack. The cabin crew tried not to disturb the passengers. However, when the medical team arrived and entered the plane, many sensed something was wrong.
Some flyers finally realized that there was some medical emergency and it concerned a member of the cabin crew when they saw Yazidi being carried off the flight. Many panicked but the sensible crew pacified them.
However, the flight remained grounded for four hours as Gulf Air had to send a replacement for Yazidi which took some time for them. Also, other emergency landing formalities had to be done which consumed additional time.
All aircraft are outfitted with basic first aid kits and medical supplies. Flight attendants are normally trained to provide basic first aid. However, there are not equipped to attend to complicated medical emergencies.
The majority of commercial flights do not carry specialized medical equipment, and unless a doctor is present, pilots are often compelled to make an emergency landing at a nearby airport should any serious medical concerns arise while a flight is in progress.
Earlier this month, a man died aboard an EasyJet flight from Cyprus to London. Another Easy Jet flight earlier had to make an emergency landing when the captain became ill.