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Girl, 8, dies after mid-flight medical episode forces plane to makes emergency landing

An 8-year-old girl died after becoming unresponsive on a Chicago-bound flight that was forced to make an emergency landing in Peoria, Illinois, authorities said.

Sydney Weston was on a vacation to the Windy City from Joplin, Missouri with her family when she experienced a medical emergency during the flight.

After the emergency was reported, the plane was diverted and landed at General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport in Illinois at approximately 7 a.m.


An 8-year-old girl died after the plane made an emergency landing in Peoria, Illinois, authorities said. Google Maps

“Upon landing in Peoria, she was not breathing and had no pulse,” the Peoria County Coroner’s Office said. It said in a statement.

Emergency rescue teams met the plane at the airport.

She was taken to OSF Healthcare St. Francis Medical Center, where she ultimately died “despite extensive resuscitation efforts,” the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office confirmed.

Flight data FlightAware United Airlines Flight 5121 took off from Joplin at 5:51 a.m., was diverted en route to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, and landed in Peoria at 7:02 a.m.


Flight Map
The girl became unresponsive during a flight from Joplin, Missouri, to Chicago. Flight Aware

The flight was operated by SkyWest, a regional airline that has contracts with several other major airlines, United Airlines said.

SkyWest Airlines told the Post that the flight was forced to ground after a passenger experienced a “health crisis.”

“We would like to thank the crew who responded quickly to rescue the passengers and the medical personnel who met the aircraft,” the airline said in a statement.

An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow. The coroner’s office said it would provide an update once it is completed.

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