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
"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. .
Flight from Honolulu to JFK diverted to SFO for a passenger needing medical attention. It's been a long time since they asked the doctors to come to the first class so I hope they're okay. First time I've ever had a flight diverted, somehow. January 25, 2019
"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.
Btw if you're ever going to have a medical emergency in the air, this is the flight to do it on. Andrea Bartz (@andibartz) January 25, 2019
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.
There are cops, too, and no one's moving with any urgency and they just had a elderly man with a yarmulke coming up to the front. Did Somebody Die?
– Andrea Bartz (@andibartz) January 25, 2019
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. "