An airplane may strike many people as a relatively safe place. There are certain security measures in place during every flight to ensure the safety of everyone onboard. In addition, there are flight attendants available if a passenger is uncomfortable or has a problem. However, last month tragedy struck when a passenger died while on board a Southwest Airlines flight flying over California. His widow has filed a wrongful death suit in response to the activities that occurred that day.

A 46-year-old man was flying home to his family when suddenly with 10 minutes until touchdown in California, he suddenly ran to the bathroom. Flight attendants approached after they heard yelling coming from the lavatory. The attendants treated the situation as a passenger disruption and did not investigate further. He was not treated until all passengers had exited the plane and it wasn’t until then did they realize they did not have an unruly passenger but a medical emergency situation.

The man was deprived of oxygen to his brain for 33 minutes while on the plane according to doctors. The widow is now seeking compensation due to how Southwest handled the medical situation with her husband. The suit is seeking unspecified damages related to the events that occurred that day.

This is a sad story because the man who passed away left a wife and three children behind. The three children were named as plaintiffs in the civil lawsuit. If nothing else, there is the hope that this case will bring attention to safety protocols across airlines and help to better educate employees about emergency situations. Southwest claims that they followed proper procedures in this case.

Source: Insurance Journal, “Suit Says Southwest failed in Medical Emergency Over California,” Sudin Thanawala, April 24, 2015