April 20, 2018

Kenyan medical student dies aboard US flight

Griffin Gutwa, 18, he died on a US flight from San Diego to Minneapolis. [courtesy]

The death of a Kenyan teen studying medicine at the University of San Diego, California has sent shock waves to his parents who also live in the US.

Eighteen-year old Griffin Gutwa, a former Burnsville High School student, is reportedly said to have died aboard a flight he boarded from San Diego to Minneapolis where he was to join his parents for holiday, reports New York.com.

The news of his death shocked his family since he had not complained of being unwell before he boarded the flight.

His father, Gideon Gutwa said his son had called him on the morning of December 22 before boarding a Delta Airlines flight from San Diego to Minneapolis.

“He had just finished his exams. He was excited to come home,” said his father  who traveled to the US from Kenya in 2004. He has been living there ever since.

“He was very healthy. He had just been here for thanksgiving. We were expecting him to arrive safely.”

A passenger who traveled with Griffin during the flight said the young medical student asked for warm water from the flight attendant an hour after they left San Diego.

After taking the water, he leaned on the plane’s window and dozed off. A passenger seated next to him became concerned after his breathing changed.

He quickly alerted the flight attendants who requested for medical help. The pilot was forced to make an emergency landing at the nearest airport which was in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Here, paramedics tried their best to revive him for about 45 minutes but he would not respond according to a report by Sioux Falls Police Department.

Gutwo said the report he got was that his son did not respond to CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) by the paramedics at Sioux Falls airport.

The deceased had plans of completing his medical degree and returning to his home country, Kenya and help the less fortunate.

Griffin had three other siblings. He was the first born.

He has been described as “a responsible, outgoing and helpful teenager.”

Sioux Falls medical examiner is investigating the cause of Griffin’s death.

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