Hawaiian Airlines mourns the loss of a beloved employee who died mid-flight

Hawaiian Airlines flight diverted after flight attendant dies following medical emergency

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Hawaiian Airlines flight to New York was diverted on Thursday night after a medical emergency on board led to the sudden death of a flight attendant.

On Friday, Hawaiian Airlines identified the employee as Emile Griffith.

He is being remembered as a passionate and enthusiastic employee of the company.
He is being remembered as a passionate and enthusiastic employee of the company. (Source: Hawaiian Airlines)

The company offered this statement saying, “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."

The statement continued, "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.”

According to the airlines, HA flight 50 departed from Honolulu just before 4:15 p.m. on Thursday.

Bound for John F. Kennedy International Airport, the flight carrying 253 passengers and 12 crewmembers was diverted to San Francisco International Airport after the medical emergency where it landed shortly after 11 p.m. local time.

One passenger sent out a series of tweets saying flight attendants made an announcement calling for any doctors on board to help.

Another passenger told Hawaii News Now there was a doctor and at least one paramedic on the flight who did step in to assist. She said the experience was sad and very confusing for most of the passengers on board.

She also added that the passengers were not informed about what was taking place, only that an emergency had occurred. Once they landed in San Francisco, they were held on the runway for nearly two hours waiting on the coroner to arrive.

“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 Griffith were offered counseling services.

This story may be updated.

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