Hawaiian Air flight diverted after flight attendant dies

SAN FRANCISCO — A Hawaiian Airlines flight from Honolulu to New York City was diverted to San Francisco after a male flight attendant died of an apparent heart attack, said officials Friday.

Hawaiian Airlines Flight 50 landed Thursday night after a crew member had “a suspected heart attack,” San Francisco airport spokesman Doug Yakel said.


Medical personnel attempted CPR during the flight but suspended those efforts prior to landing. The San Mateo County coroner declared the crew member dead on arrival, Yakel said.

Hawaiian Airlines spokeswoman Ann Botticelli said Emile Griffith had been with the company for 31 years.

“Emile both loved and treasured his job at Hawaiian and always shared that with our guests,” Botticelli said in a statement.

The airline has made counseling available for Griffith’s colleagues, she said.

The plane was carrying 253 passengers and 12 crewmembers when it departed Honolulu on Thursday.

The passengers who landed in San Francisco five hours after takeoff were put on other flights, Yakel said.

Andrea Bartz, who was on the flight to John F. Kennedy Airport, said on Twitter that the crew made an announcement asking for a doctor to go to first class and help with a medical emergency.

Bartz tweeted that “many doctors came forward” and that police officers came on board after the plane landed.


Bartz declined to be interviewed. But she and another passenger complained on Twitter that the airline played ukulele music during the emergency.

“Hawaiian Airlines is still playing the ukulele/traditional singing soundtrack meant for boarding and deplaning, and I’ll tell ya, it’s not making anyone calmer,” she tweeted.

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