Passengers being contacted after U.S. man dies from COVID-19 midair


Updated: March 7, 2021

Passengers are being contacted in the United States after a man with COVID-19 died on the plane.

United Airlines said on Friday it was working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to track down passengers on a December 14 flight from Orlando to Los Angeles.

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The family of the deceased told the airline that he had pre-existing conditions, including high-blood pressure and upper respiratory issues.

The family added that the man was feeling sick in the days leading up to his flights from Los Angeles, a United spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the man had filled out a pre-flight checklist that said he was not diagnosed with COVID-19 and that he did not have any related symptoms, which allowed him to board.

Multiple reports quoted the spokesperson as saying that they later determined he “wrongly acknowledged this requirement.”

United said in a statement that the plane was diverted to New Orleans and paramedics transported the man to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The spokesperson said the deceased’s wife was overheard telling an EMT that her husband had COVID-related symptoms, including the loss of taste and smell, but a COVID-19 diagnosis was not confirmed at the time.

“Now that the CDC has contacted us directly, we are sharing requested information with the agency so they can work with local health officials to conduct outreach to any customer the CDC believes may be at risk for possible exposure or infection,” United said.

The CDC is collecting information about the incident to “determine if further public health action is appropriate,” the agency said.

No details about the man have been released.


Simon Ateba Washington DC
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on


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