Man Chokes to Death on Flight, Girlfriend Sits By Body for 9 Hours

By Sara Dover
|  Monday, Sep 5, 2011  |  Updated 8:36 AM CDT
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Man Chokes to Death on Flight, Girlfriend Sits By Body for 9 Hours

AFP/Getty Images

A plane from Qantas airline budget carrier Jetstar

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A New Zealand woman sat next to the body of her boyfriend for nine and a half hours on a plane after he choked to death.

The New Zealand Herald News reports that Vanessa Preechakul thought her boyfriend, 31-year-old Robert Rippingale, "was laughing hard" while he was eating a chicken and beef in-flight meal about an hour and a half into the Jetstar flight from Singapore to Auckland, New Zealand on August 29.

"Then I looked at his face and his eyes were rolling and he couldn't talk. His lips were turning purple," she said.

A doctor and two nurses rushed over when they heard Preechakul, 27, scream for help. They performed CPR on his in the galley, but he was soon pronounced dead.

Crew members covered his body with a blanket and placed him and Preechakul in a crew rest area where she asked to sit next to her boyfriend's body for the remainder of the 11-hour flight.

"I had to cope -- I had no choice," Preechakul said.

Rippingale met his girlfriend in Singapore and was taking her to New Zealand in time for his parents' 50th birthdays.
 

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