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2 Investigators: Questions Surround Man’s Death On Airplane

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago man on board a Spirit Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Chicago this past Monday died and 2 investigator Pam Zekman has learned there are questions about emergency training for staff and medical equipment on board that plane.

And those questions are coming from a former paramedic, who saw first-hand what happened.

Spirit Airlines Flight 356 from Las Vegas was approaching O’Hare when the pilot told passengers to prepare for landing.

But 41-year-old Christopher Allen did not move alarming the passenger behind him,

“He would not arouse, had no pulse and we called for the stewards that were toward the back of the plane,” said Lyle Daniels.

FAA regulations require that airplanes have an advanced medical equipment kit, emergency oxygen and a portable defibrillator similar to this readily accessible for use on passengers.

Daniels, a former paramedic, was traveling with his girlfriend. They say flight attendants found the defibrillator but did not know how to use it.

“They didn’t know how their equipment worked they had to look at directions,” said Valerie Lynn

“I ended up taking the chest pads, pulling the backing off of them and placing them on the victims chest,” said Daniels.

And the medical kit and oxygen airbag were not available

“I was told it was in the cockpit and they could not retrieve it. It’s shocking,” said Daniels.

The FAA requires airlines to train their staff at least every 24 months in how to use the equipment and administer CPR.

“The steward I was working with was not giving mouth to mouth properly. He wasn’t breathing hard enough into the victim. I had to keep instruction him to do so.”

After the plane landed, paramedics also worked on Allen but he failed to respond.

Now Daniels wants to talk to Allen’s wife.

Asked what he wants to tell her, Daniels responded, “That he was thinking of her. One of the last things he said was that he wanted to get home to his family.”

In a written statement Spirit airlines said its crews are required to master the use of all emergency medical equipment.

“Our crew, assisted by a professional paramedic traveling on the flight, did everything possible to assist our customer and should be commended for properly using their training in responding to this medical emergency,” the statement said.

The airline says it was saddened by Christopher Allen’s passing. The medical examiner has not yet determined the cause of his death.