El Al flight
El Al flight Flash 90

An El Al flight out of Ben Gurion Airport was forced to return for an emergency landing some 45 minutes after takeoff when a passenger suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed during the flight.

According to emergency medical responders from United Hatzalah, an 88-year-old woman, a member of the haredi community in Belgium, collapsed as El Al Flight LY333 made its way towards Belgium.

The woman, who had traveled to Israel to be with her family for the holiday season, was treated on the plane by Shmulie Markowitz, a fellow passenger who serves as a member of the Antwerp Hatzalah emergency response team.

After the woman collapsed, Markowitz attempted to resuscitate her. When it became clear she had suffered a heart attack, the flight crew was instructed to return to Ben Gurion Airport immediately.

As soon as the plane had landed, the woman was evacuated in critical condition to Yitzhak Shamir Medical Center (formerly Assaf Harofe) in Tzrifin.

Unfortunately, shortly after she was admitted to Shamir Medical Center, hospital staff was forced to declare her dead.

“Despite the doctors’ efforts, the 88-year-old tourist who was brought from Ben Gurion Airport this evening to the hospital’s trauma center passed away just moments ago,” a hospital spokesperson said.