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Aer Lingus passenger who died on flight had 'packages of cocaine' in his stomach

Published 20/10/2015

The flight was diverted to Cork airport
The flight was diverted to Cork airport

Gardai have confirmed that a number of 'packages' were recovered from the body of the young man who died on board an Aer Lingus flight.

The 24-year-old suffered a violent seizure during the flight, which had left Lisbon bound for Dublin.

He had ingested around 0.8kg of suspected cocaine in 80 wrapped pellets, according to the Irish Times.

A woman who was also travelling on the plane has been arrested and remains in garda custody.

She is believed to be Portuguese but it is not yet clear what her links are to the deceased man.

The man, understood to be John Santos Gurgao, a Brazillian national, died on board the flight EI 485, which had 168 passengers and six crew members on board.

The flight was diverted to Cork airport shortly before 5.40pm.

The man was declared dead, despite attempts to resuscitate him.

A Garda spokesman confirmed that a number of packages had been recovered from the body of the deceased during the course of a post-mortem examination.

“The post-mortem has taken place. A number of packages have been recovered and have been forwarded for forensic examination,” the spokesman said.

“The toxicology results are awaited.”

Corkman John Leonard was on the flight and described the scene after the man first appeared to suffer a seizure and then had to be restrained at the back of the plane before collapsing.

"Horrible. I would say a very violent end - to die that way in the back of an aeroplane, it's not right. It was not very pleasant at all," he said.

One man who attempted to restrain the passenger was bitten on the arm.

Mr Leonard told PJ Coogan's Opinion Line on Cork's 96fm two nurses and a doctor tried to resuscitate the man.

The captain of the flight had asked if there were any medics on board.

"After that it got worse I would say, his seizure seemed to get worse. He was actually on the ground shaking violently," Mr Leonard said.

"The noise he was making was like something I have never heard before.

"It's not something you'd hear everyday. It was like deep anguish is the best way I could describe it, very, very troubled. Not screaming in a sense you know if you'd hurt yourself or something, just a very guttural, from deep within him."

Emma Jane Hade, Irish Independent

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