Medical emergency diverts jet to St. George Airport

An Allegiant Air flight en route from Mesa, Arizona to Pasco, Washington is diverted to St. George Regional Airport after a passenger began experiencing seizures, St. George, Utah, May 5, 2016 | Photo by Brad Kitchen, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A passenger experiencing seizures forced an unscheduled landing for an Allegiant Air jetliner at the St. George Regional Airport Thursday.

An Allegiant Air flight en route from Mesa, Arizona to Pasco, Washington was forced to divert to St. George Regional Airport when a female passenger began experiencing seizures on Thursday, May 5, 2016 | Photo by Brad Kitchen, St. George News
An Allegiant Air flight en route from Mesa, Arizona to Pasco, Washington was forced to divert to St. George Regional Airport when a female passenger began experiencing seizures on Thursday, May 5, 2016 | Photo by Brad Kitchen, St. George News

At approximately 9:15 a.m., an Airbus A319 airliner en route to Washington state was diverted to the St. George Regional Airport after an adult female passenger began having seizures, Brad Kitchen, Airport Operations Supervisor, said. The airliner was still 20 miles away from the airport when the medical emergency was reported.

“We got an ambulance, Gold Cross was out there, they arrived just as the aircraft was landing,” Kitchen said.

“One of our operations specialists was there to help with the medics. They were able to pull the aircraft up to the jet bridge and unload the passenger into the terminal,” he said. “We actually brought the ambulance out on the secured ramp and they loaded the 25-year old woman and took her to the hospital.”

An Allegiant Air flight en route from Mesa, Arizona to Pasco, Washington was forced to divert to St. George Regional Airport when a female passenger began experiencing seizures on Thursday, May 5, 2016 | Photo by Brad Kitchen, St. George News
An Allegiant Air flight en route from Mesa, Arizona to Pasco, Washington was forced to divert to St. George Regional Airport when a female passenger began experiencing seizures on Thursday, May 5, 2016 | Photo by Brad Kitchen, St. George News

The patient was taken to Dixie Regional Medical Center.

The flight had departed from Mesa, Arizona, and was scheduled to fly to Pasco, Washington. The flight had 133 passengers on board; the Airbus 319 is a much larger airplane than St. George Regional Airport is accustomed to handling.

Due to FAA regulations, the flight remained at the St. George Regional Airport until after 1 p.m.

During the medical emergency, the airplane crew used some of the plane’s oxygen supply, which had to be refilled at the airport, Kitchen said.

After resupplying the oxygen, an aircraft mechanic technician had to sign off on the process. However, by the time the technician could clear the aircraft, the passengers had been on board too long – according to FAA regulations – so they had to deplane and wait in the terminal.

Eventually, with paperwork filled out and the plane refueled, the passengers were allowed to reboard the plane and the flight departed for Pasco at about 1 p.m., approximately four hours after it had landed.

Most of the aircraft that land at St. George Regional Airport carry 50-80 passengers. The Airbus 319 carried 133 passengers, and is significantly larger than planes that typically land at the airport, Kitchen said. Despite the larger size of the aircraft, the jet was able to land safely.

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Email: dgilman@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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4 Comments

  • CaliGirl May 5, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    So larger aircraft CAN land at the new airport safely. Maybe SGN should do a story on why that doesn’t happen. What’s the deal with the Skywest monopoly? Not everyone wants to fly to SLC or Denver to catch yet another flight. Driving to LV and paying outrageous parking fees is ridiculous too.

  • Jason May 6, 2016 at 9:37 am

    The answe to your question is this is Skywest headquarters. The new St George airport was paid for not just by the city but paid for by Skywest as well. As far as landing planes of this size, well the military has been for years. Instead of complaining about having small aircraft to travel, understand that St George is technically to small to even support that. The only reason you CAN fly out of St George is due to Skywest.

  • .... May 6, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Another whining episode from the uninformed cry baby Caligirl. ..geez why don’t you just walk wherever you need to go and when you get there you can always sleep on a park bench

  • kdubb May 8, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    I would just like to say I’m grateful there were 4 amazing nurses on board to help her 🙂

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