Hawaiian Airlines flight diverted after flight attendant dies onboard

National News

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – A Hawaiian Airlines flight bound for New York was diverted to San Francisco Thursday night after a flight attendant died onboard the aircraft.

Flight 50 left Honolulu at 4:20 p.m. for John F. Kennedy International Airport.

It landed in San Francisco around 9:45 p.m. Hawaii time. 

Most of the pasengers have spent the last couple hours looking for an alternative flight after their plane to New York was diverted. 

Passengers tell CBS 17 sister station KRON4 the other flight attendants seemed emotional, but didn’t say what was going on. They did make an announcement asking for any doctors on the plane to come to the front. 

CPR was given to the flight attendant, but the person was pronounced dead on the plane. 

It was then announced that instead of heading to JFK, they’d be making a stop in San Francisco. 

There, passengers waited two hours as a medical examiner came aboard and removed the body. 

Hawaiian Airlines then made an announcement that passengers should go get their bags and book a new flight to New York, but since the airline doesn’t fly from SFO to JFK, they had to go to other airlines — some passengers paying nearly $2,000. 

Friday afternoon, Hawaiian Airlines released a statement identifying the the flight attendant who passed as Emile Griffith. 

We are deeply saddened by the loss of Emile Griffith, a member of our flight attendant ‘ohana for over 31 years who passed away while working on our flight between Honolulu and New York last night. We are forever grateful for Emile’s colleagues and good Samaritans on board who stayed by his side and provided extensive medical help. Emile both loved and treasured his job at Hawaiian and always shared that with our guests. Our hearts are with Emile’s family, friends and all those fortunate to have known him.

Hawaiian Airlines has made counseling available for his fellow employees.

HA50, carrying 253 passengers and 12 crewmembers, departed Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport at 4:13 p.m. HST on Thursday bound for John F. Kennedy International Airport. The flight diverted to San Francisco International Airport (SFO), where it landed shortly after 11 p.m. local time. We sincerely appreciate our guests’ patience and understanding while our agents and crew worked with medical personnel upon arrival at SFO. All guests were re-accommodated on the first available flights and will be provided compensation.

KRON4 spoke with a passenger who explained how they started to realize it was a flight attendant who died, and not another passenger. 

“We saw them tearing up, so we knew it was something seriously like halfway through. We thought it was maybe someone on first class, but when they announced it was a flight attendant, it makes sense that’s why everyone was freaking out,” said passenger Breeze-oin Morita. 

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