A 73-year-old man collapsed and died after using the toiler on a repatriation flight from San Francisco, the U.S. to Van Don International Airport in the northern Vietnamese province of Quang Ninh, about 153 kilometers northeast of Hanoi.
The flight lasted from July 15 to 16, read the announcement of Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The man fell after using the toilet about 13 hours into the flight when the plane was cruising at an altitude of 33,000 feet, or more than 10,000 meters, according to the announcement.
The Vietnam Airlines flight's cabin crew attempted to give first aid to the man and asked for support from doctors aboard the flight, but they were unable to save the septuagenarian.
The flight crew reported the accident to the airline authority and followed through with necessary procedures to transfer the dead man to the administrative agencies charged with handling such issues at the airport.
Vietnam Airlines offered its deep sympathy and condolences to the deceased’s family.
Passengers aboard the flight consisted primarily of under-18 children, the elderly, people with pre-existing health conditions, overseas students who had finished the school year and had no accommodations, and others put in difficult situations by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Upon arriving at the Van Don airport, the evacuated citizens were given a health check and transferred to a centralized quarantine area. The plane carrying them was disinfected as well.
The Vietnamese government has brought thousands of its citizens home over the last few months from countries such as the U.S., Japan, and South Korea, as well as regions throughout Africa and South Asia.
The flight on which the incident occurred was the fifth to repatriate Vietnamese citizens in the U.S. to Vietnam.
The process of bringing overseas citizens back is expected to continue in order to meet the demand of Vietnamese living abroad who desire to return to their home country during the pandemic, the foreign ministry said.
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