Human heart left on plane prompts commercial flight's turnaround

Kelly Gooch - Print  | 

An airplane headed from Seattle to Dallas on Dec. 9 got turned back after a human heart was left on board, The New York Times reported.

Passengers on Southwest Flight 3606 reportedly were told the heart was on the plane, and the plane then flew back to Seattle.

Southwest Airlines told the Times there was "a life-critical cargo shipment onboard the aircraft that was intended to stay in Seattle for delivery to a local hospital."

"We made the decision to return to Seattle to ensure the shipment was delivered to its destination within the window of time allotted by our cargo customer," Southwest stated..

The Times learned that the heart was supposed to be picked up by a courier company after a flight from Sacramento, Calif., to Seattle, but was mistakenly left on the plane after that flight deboarded.

Deanna Santana, a spokesperson for Sierra Donor Services, a Sacramento-based nonprofit, organ, eye and tissue transplant donor network, told the Times that the heart was meant to reach LifeNet Health offices in Renton, Wash., within 48 hours of the donor's death so its valves and tissues could be used in future surgeries.

Access the full Times report here.


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