Video: EMT recounts attempts to save COVID-19 victim who died during flight

EMT Tony Aldapa and two other good Samaritans performed CPR on the man, who collapsed on a flight from Orlando to Los Angeles


By Laura French

LOS ANGELES — An off-duty EMT who tried to save a man who died due to COVID-19 on a United Airlines flight last week recounted the experience in interviews this week. 

EMT Tony Aldapa was on the flight from Orlando to Los Angeles on Dec. 14, when he saw another passenger experiencing a medical emergency, and assisted other good Samaritans in administering CPR, according to CBS Los Angeles. Aldapa said he and two other passengers took turns performing chest compressions for about 45 minutes as the plane was diverted for an emergency landing. 

An off-duty EMT who performed CPR on a man who died from COVID-19 on a United Airlines flight last week recounted the experience in interviews this week.
An off-duty EMT who performed CPR on a man who died from COVID-19 on a United Airlines flight last week recounted the experience in interviews this week. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The man was transported to the hospital after the plane landed, where he later died. A coroner confirmed on Monday that the man died due to acute respiratory failure and COVID-19, according to CBS Los Angeles

Aldapa, a Navy veteran, said he began experiencing possible virus symptoms following the incident, including a cough, body aches and a headache, but told CNN that he has tested negative twice and is looking forward to returning to work and getting the COVID-19 vaccine when he completes quarantine. 

Aldapa also credited the other two good Samaritans who performed CPR, as well as other bystanders who gave assistance and the United Airlines flight crew, saying he felt it was unfortunate that he was the only one receiving recognition. 

Watch Aldapa's interview with CNN below:

 

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