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Monday, September 5, 2011

Passenger, 31, Chokes to Death on In-Flight Meal – Girlfriend Sits Next to his Body for NINE Hours

Sulaiman Kamal | 2:32 AM | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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A young woman sat next to the body of her boyfriend for nine hours after he choked to death while eating an in-flight meal.

Girlfriend Vanessa Preechakul told today how she watched in horror as 31-year-old Robert Rippingale choked and died while eating a beef meal on a Jetstar flight between Singapore and Auckland.
‘One minute we were sitting next to each other kissing, holding hands and the next minute he was choking,’ Miss Preechakul, a 27-year-old architect said.

‘I kept thinking “How could you do this to me?”
‘He wanted to come back (to New Zealand) so much and he just left me there.’
Miss Preechakukl told the New Zealand Herald that she and Mr Rippingale had met in Singapore, where he had lived and worked for three years.
He was taking her to New Zealand so she could discover the country and share in his parents’ 50th birthdays.
‘He was so excited about the trip that we arrived at the airport six hours early for the 8pm flight,’ she said.
An hour and a half into the scheduled 11-hour Jetstar flight – the airline is a low-budget subsidiary of Qantas – the crew began serving a choice of beef or chicken for dinner.
The 31-year-old’s girlfriend watched as he died aboard a Jetstar flight between Singapore and Auckland
Mr Rippingale chose the beef dish and was eating it while watching the inflight movie.
Suddenly, said Miss Preechakul, she noticed him shaking, but at first she did not realise anything was wrong.
‘I thought he was laughing very hard. Then I looked at his face and his eyes were rolling and he couldn’t talk. His lips were turning purple.’
A doctor and two nurses were among the passengers and they rushed to help after hearing Miss Preechakul’s screams for help.
Mr Rippingale was carried to the galley where the medical team performed CPR, but were unable to save him.
‘The doctor came to me and said he was so sorry – he did his best.’
Mr Rippingale’s body was moved to the crew rest area, where it was covered with a blanket.
But Miss Preechakul did not want to leave him. She was given permission to sit next to her boyfriend’s body for the remaining nine hours of the flight.
‘I had to cope. I had no choice,’ she told the paper.
‘I’m struggling to come to terms with his death. He was so outgoing and generous.’
Mr Andrew McGinnes, a spokesman for Jetstar, expressed his condolences to the family and thanked the doctor and nurses who had tried to save Mr Rippingale.
‘This was a very difficult and sad event and our sympathies are with the passenger’s family,’ he said.
The cause of death, he said, will not be known until a coroner’s report has been released later this month.

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