Tragedy Strikes Family on Their Way to Vacation

Missouri girl, 8, dies after falling ill on SkyWest flight bound for Chicago; cause of death isn't clear
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2024 10:00 AM CDT
Girl, 8, Dies After Falling Ill on Flight
A SkyWest plane departs from Freeland, Michigan, on May 1.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

An 8-year-old Missouri girl flying to Chicago with her family for vacation died after getting sick while in the air. The child, IDed as Sydney Weston of Carl Junction, "suddenly became ill and then unresponsive in flight," the Peoria County Coroner's Office said Thursday in an online statement regarding the Thursday morning incident aboard a SkyWest flight out of Joplin, Missouri. "Her family immediately notified the flight personnel of her condition, and they began rapidly rendering aid."

The plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Peoria, per USA Today. Upon touching down, Sydney "was not breathing and had no pulse," the coroner's office noted. First responders tried to revive the girl, but to no avail. Sydney was transported to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, but, "despite aggressive resuscitative efforts," she was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

"The preliminary autopsy was inconclusive and pending several studies," the coroner's office notes in a follow-up post on Friday. "However, there was no evidence of foul play and no signs of abuse or neglect." CNN reports that more tests are in the works, including toxicology tests, the results of which should take between four to six weeks, according to the coroner's office. "We appreciate the efforts of our crewmembers who responded quickly to assist and the medical personnel who met the aircraft," a SkyWest rep says in a statement. (More SkyWest stories.)

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