By Andrea Romano
December 27, 2019

A young girl was pronounced dead after the flight she was on returned to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) following a medical emergency, CNN reported.

10-year-old Janice Xu was on Delta Flight 2423 from LAX to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Thursday, Dec. 26, when she suddenly experienced a medical issue on board, CNN reported. Local affiliate KTLA in Los Angeles reported that the girl experienced cardiac arrest, though it is unclear if she had a contributing underlying condition.

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Cardiac arrest is marked by a loss of heart function, either suddenly or along with other symptoms, according to the American Heart Association (AMA). It is commonly mistaken as a “heart attack,” but the two conditions are different. Heart attacks can cause cardiac arrest, however, a heart attack is marked by “death of heart muscle tissue due to the loss of blood supply,” according to the AMA.

KTLA reported that the medical emergency happened shortly after taking off from LAX. Deaths on flights are rare, but they do happen. If a medical emergency occurs, flight crews have medical kits and procedures to help the passenger, and if there is any luck, a doctor or nurse may also be a passenger on board to assist. Often times, passengers cannot be pronounced dead while the plane is still in the air since it must be done by a medical professional.

According to The Hill, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officials said that there was no foul play involved in the incident. The Los Angeles Fire Department said in a statement on its website, “LAFD paramedics responded to a medical aid for a minor female child and furiously worked to save her life. Sadly, all efforts were futile and the child was beyond medical help.”

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