A post mortem today is expected to shed light on the bizarre death of a young man flying with Irish carrier Aer Lingus who “became agitated” in flight, bit a fellow traveller, was restrained and then dropped dead.
Not surprisingly, drug use is suspected. The suspicion appears this morning to have been confirmed, with the Irish Times reporting that a woman, believed to have been travelling with dead man, has been arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking.
The dead man, a Brazilian aged 24, was travelling on flight EI 485 from Lisbon to Dublin when he went berserk, launched the attack, was restrained by cabin crew and then collapsed while crew tried to handcuff him.
He was attended by a doctor and nurse travelling on the flight, which diverted to Cork Airport. The man was pronounced dead on the plane.
Irish police have arrested a 44-year-old Portuguese woman they believe was travelling with the man. She is resident in Dublin as a business consultant. A search of her luggage revealed two kilograms of a powdered substance, believed to be an illegal drug, the paper reported. The substance has been sent for analysis.
Police said yesterday they hoped the post mortem would show whether the man ingested a substance that might have triggered his violent and fatal in-flight episode. This morning, their suspicions seemed to have been borne out, with reports from Irish news outlet RTE News that several packages had been recovered from the man’s body during the examination. At least one was found to be ruptured. The contents have been sent for forensic analysis.
The male passenger who was attacked during the in-flight incident was taken to hospital for treatment for bites. Police took witness statements from the six crew and 168 passengers aboard the flight. One passenger described the events as “very disturbing”.
Passengers were later taken to Dublin by coach. The plane has been impounded as a crime scene and was being examined forensically last night.
Written by Peter Needham