(Reuters) – The family of a South Carolina woman has filed a wrongful death lawsuit accusing American Airlines (AAL.O) of refusing to make an emergency landing after she fell ill during an April 2016 flight, leading to her death from an embolism three days later.
Brittany Oswell’s parents and widower filed their April 18 lawsuit in a federal court in South Carolina, where the 25-year-old nurse and her husband Cory lived. They had been flying home from Hawaii, where her husband was stationed in the military.
The lawsuit follows the April 17 death of a Southwest Airlines (LUV.N) passenger after an in-flight engine explosion, the first passenger death on a U.S. commercial airline since 2009.
According to the complaint, Oswell’s flight was on its way to Dallas-Fort Worth from Honolulu when she became dizzy and disoriented before fainting. She regained consciousness after being looked at by a doctor, and later collapsed in a bathroom.
Her family said the doctor recommended that the plane land at a nearby airport in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but the pilot flew on to Dallas after consulting with another doctor.
Oswell’s breathing and pulse eventually stopped, and flight attendants tried to administer CPR after an onboard defibrillator failed to work, the complaint said.
She never regained consciousness, and was eventually taken off life support, it added.
“We were deeply saddened by this event and our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to Mrs. Oswell’s loved ones,” American said in a statement. “We take the safety of our passengers very seriously and we are looking into the details of the complaint.”
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, including for American’s alleged gross negligence. A lawyer for Oswell’s family did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The case is Starks et al v American Airlines Inc, U.S. District Court, District of South Carolina, No. 18-01062.
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler