More than 250 passengers aboard a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Honolulu to New York had settled into their seats for the lengthy airtime when the plane’s captain made an announcement that startled everyone.
The plane had departed Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport and was three hours into the flight when the captain hopped onto the loudspeaker to ask if there were any doctors on board the plane. It seemed a flight attendant was suffering a medical emergency.
Crew members and doctors on board the plane rallied around the longtime employee, flight attendant Emile Griffith, by performing life-saving CPR. Sadly, the man who had dedicated 31 years of his life to Hawaiian Airlines lost his life in the air.
The plane was rerouted to San Francisco International Airport for an emergency landing. According to Fox News, Griffith had suffered a fatal heart attack. Hawaii News Now reported that crew members performed CPR on their co-worker “for hours” in a valiant attempt to revive him.
After the plane landed and Griffith was tended to, passengers disembarked the plane and were booked on other first available flights out of San Francisco.
Author Andrea Bartz was a passenger on the flight and tweeted when it happened.
Hawaiian Airlines Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Longtime Flight Attendant Dies Mid-Flight https://t.co/Mb1LSOwdHa— People (@people) January 26, 2019
“It’s been a long time since they asked for doctors to come to first class so I hope they’re okay,” she tweeted at the time. “First time I’ve ever had a flight diverted, somehow. Waiting for medics to board now,” she said.
The airline shared a statement expressing its sorrow at the loss of Griffith, a beloved employee, and thanked those who tried in vain to attempt to save his life.
“We are forever grateful for Emile’s colleagues and good Samaritans on board who stayed by his side and provided extensive medical help. Emilie 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,” the statement said.
People shared photos of a tribute that Griffith’s colleagues had created for him in the Hawaiian Airlines in-flight crew lounge at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. They have been encouraged to write memories about their beloved co-worker in a spiral-bound notebook while gazing at fun photos of Griffith. Memorial candles and leis decorate the table along with greenery. In all of the photos, Griffith can be seen smiling, an example of someone who simply loved life.