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New York-bound Hawaiian Airlines is making an emergency landing in San Francisco after a longtime flight attendant dies



A Hawaiian Airlines plane from Honolulu to New York was diverted to San Francisco after a flight attendant died on board, the airline announced on Friday.

Emile Griffith, who was "a member of our flight attendant 'ohana' [family] for over 31 years," passed away "while working on our flight between Honolulu and New York last night," the airline's senior vice president corporate communications, Ann Botticelli, wrote in a statement.

"We are forever grateful to Emile's colleagues and good samaritans on board, who stayed by his side and provided extensive medical help." Emile loved and treasured his job at Hawaiian and always shared that with our guests. , friends and all those fortunate to have known him, "Botticelli wrote.

The New York-bound flight, which had 253 passengers and 1

2 crewmembers, left Honolulu's Daniel K. Inouye International Airport on Thursday afternoon. It was headed to John F. Kennedy International Airport.

"The flight diverted to San Francisco International Airport (SFO), where it landed shortly after 11 pm local time. We sincerely appreciate our guests' patience and understanding while our agents and crew worked with medical staff upon arrival at SFO, Botticelli added.

Hawaiian said all guests were rebooked and will be compensated. The airline also said that the counseling was available to its employees.

Passenger Andrea Bartz, and a thriller writer who was traveling to New York, tweeted about the incident.

"It's been a long time since they asked for the doctors to come to the first class so I hope they're okay … I've ever had a flight diverted, somehow. .

"Btw if you're ever going to have a medical emergency in the air, so many doctors came forward to make a second announcement like "never mind, all set !!" she continued.

It seems like the fliers were left somewhat in the dark as the crew attended Griffith.

"There are cops, too, and no one's moving with any urgency and they just had a senior with a yarmulke come up to the front. Did someone die?" Bartz wrote.

 PHOTO: Sign Hawai Airlines Inc. is displayed at an airport in Honolulu, Hawaii, Jan. 9, 2013. Tim Rue / Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE
Sign in to check in with Hawaiian Airlines Inc. is displayed at an airport in Honolulu, Hawaii, Jan. 9, 2013.

The San Francisco Medical Examiner's office was not immediately available to provide a cause of death. Representatives for SFO referred ABC News to Hawaiian.

The flight attendants' union, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, declined to comment on the frequency of airliner deaths.

"We are incredibly saddened by the loss of our dear flying partner," the union wrote in an emailed statement to ABC News. "We offer our love and support to the Flight Attendant's family and crew. We will do everything we can to support them in this challenging time. "


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