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Kenyan man dies while en route to Nairobi from New York aboard KQ plane

Kenya Airways plane. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

A 66-year-old man travelling from the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, USA died while en route to South Africa, via Nairobi, on Monday.

JKIA commandant Morris Kiplagat confirmed to The Standard that the passenger was a dual citizen of Kenya and the United States.

Police records, obtained by The Standard, indicate he developed breathing difficulties and other symptoms while in transit on a Kenya Airways (KQ) plane.

Reports suggest the plane, which was Nairobi-bound, had to reroute to Morocco so that the passenger could get specialised medical attention.

He was, however, pronounced dead on arrival at the Moroccan hospital.

Robert Akwiri, one of the passengers aboard the KQ plane, told The Standard: “Medics on the Kenya Airways plane said his life was in danger as his organs showed signs of rapid failure. The flight had to be rerouted to Morocco. Most passengers were empathetic, and understood the situation.”

Police have since identified the deceased. However, The Standard won’t publish his identity for ethical reasons.

The Moroccan hospital, where the man was taken, got details of his family members from KQ management and alerted them of his death.

The KQ plane was supposed to arrive at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) at 10:32am on Monday, but due to the incident and consequent rerouting, it touched down in Nairobi a few minutes past 7pm.

The man’s family arrived at the airport and took his body to the Montezuma Monalisa Funeral Home located opposite Kenya Defense Forces Memorial Hospital on Mbagathi Way (now known as Raila Odinga Road).

The deceased’s brother, who spoke to The Standard, said the 66-year-old man was living with diabetes and other underlying medical conditions.

Upon confirmation of his death in Morocco, the body of the deceased was wrapped, packaged and transported on KQ plane as cargo.