Emile Griffith, a 60-years-old resident of Pahoa on the Island of Hawaii, took his duty on Hawaiian Airlines flight HA50 (an Airbus A330-200 registered N381HA) as he had done regularly for more than 30 years with the airline.
The flight departed Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu on time Thursday night with 253 passengers for a scheduled nonstop flight to New York JFK airport.
Midway over the Pacific Ocean, the steward collapsed after a suspected heart attack. His colleagues, together with a doctor and a paramedic among the passengers performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation “for hours”, but without success.
“We sincerely appreciate our guests’ patience and understanding while our agents and crew worked with medical personnel upon arrival at SFO. All guests were re-accommodated on the first available flights and will be provided compensation,” Hawaiian Airlines said.
Coworkers of Emile Griffith were offered counselling services.
Hawaiian Airlines released this statement:
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Emile Griffith, a member of our flight attendant ‘ohana for over 31 years who passed away while working on our flight between Honolulu and New York last night. We are forever grateful for Emile’s colleagues and good Samaritans on board who stayed by his side and provided extensive medical help.
Emile 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. Hawaiian Airlines has made counselling available for his fellow employees.”
(Part of Hawaiian culture, ‘ohana means ‘family’ in an extended sense of the term)