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Heartbreaking scenes before boy dies on Auckland to Samoa flight

Faleolo International Airport photo
Passenger questions why the plane wasn't turned around
Source: New Zealand Herald

Auckland, NEW ZEALAND — A passenger on board a flight on which a young boy died has described the heartbreaking moment the child started to panic half an hour into the journey.

The woman, who asked not to be named, was travelling with her partner on the Samoa Airways OL732 flight from Auckland to Apia on Boxing Day.

About 30 minutes after take-off, a young boy seated with his parents started panicking, she said.

"The boy and his parents [initially] did sit somewhere in the middle or nearer to the front of the plane.

"But after he started panicking, the flight attendants told the parents to bring him to the back of the plane."

She said as the situation escalated, staff worked to help the boy.

"The flight attendants were amazing. They did everything they could,'' the passenger said.

"The co-pilot or the pilot came down to see the situation - I thought by then the plane would land at the nearest airport. However, it still did not."

The woman described harrowing scenes as staff tried in vain to save the boy.

"I saw the boy's feet turning blue every minute and when the flight attendant brought the boy to his mother - so she can properly say goodbye to him - I saw the lifelessness in the boy's eyes.''

The female passenger said she was not speaking out about what happened that fateful day to criticise anyone.


However, she wanted to understand why the plane did not make an emergency landing or return to Auckland - particularly as the child started showing signs of distress not long into the flight.

"Why wasn't the plane turned around? What else could have prevented this? What is the protocol in this kind of situation?"

She also expressed how difficult it was for other passengers after the event.

"I also do need to stress how the passengers weren't treated properly after a traumatic event like this.

"I had to go see a doctor and got diagnosed for PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)."

Samoa Airways is the state-owned flag carrier airline of Samoa.

The Herald emailed the company with questions about the woman's claims, but did not receive a response.

However, in an earlier statement, a spokesman at the time of the incident said cabin crew helped and treated the passenger with oxygen. When their condition deteriorated, CPR was carried out by staff and a defibrillator was used.

"Unfortunately, there were no medical personnel on board the flight.''

Read more at NZ Herald