Published: Fri, December 14, 2018
Markets | By Jeffery Armstrong

Southwest flight turns around after human heart is found on plane

Southwest flight turns around after human heart is found on plane

The human heart that was left on a Southwest Airlines flight after someone forgot to unload it in Seattle over the weekend was being sent to an area tissue processor to recover a valve.

Southwest didn't provide the name of the company that shipped the heart, but confirmed that it specialized in shipments that are "life critical", the Times reported.

The organ was put on the plane from Sacramento and was meant to be unloaded in Seattle.

The Seattle Times reports Flight 3606 initially arrived in Seattle from Sacramento, California.

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According to CBS affiliate KYTX-TV, once the plane landed in Seattle, the plane was taken out of service due to an unrelated mechanical issue and workers brought in a different plane for the flight.

Dan Landson, a spokesman for the Dallas-based airline, said the flight was in the air for about three hours before it returned to Seattle.

"We sincerely regret the inconvenience to the customers impacted by the delay, and we are following up with them with a gesture of goodwill to apologize for the disruption to their travel", an airline spokesperson said.

A spokeswoman for LifeCenter Northwest, an organization that facilitates organ transfers for the region, said they don't use commercial airlines for heart transplant transfers.

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Dr Gottschalk called the incident a "horrific story of gross negligence".

'So if a human heart were intended for transplantation it would be very unlikely to be traveling over a great distance.

A passenger on the flight told the Times that his fellow passengers were initially stunned by the news.

It's not clear who was in charge of the heart flying on Southwest, and who was mandated to pick it up at the other end.

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