AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Sept. 5 (UPI) — A woman says her boyfriend choked to death while eating during an 11-hour flight from Singapore to New Zealand.
Robert Rippingale, 31, of Auckland was pronounced dead by a doctor 90 minutes into the Jetstar flight on Aug. 29, the New Zealand Herald reported Sunday. Vanessa Preechakul, 27, said he choked while eating his in-flight meal.
“One minute we were sitting next to each other kissing, holding hands and the next minute he was choking,” she said.
The couple had met in Singapore, where Preechakul, an architect, lives and he had been working. Rippingale was bringing her to New Zealand to visit with his family and show her the country.
Preechakul saw him shaking, but at first didn’t realize he was in distress.
“I thought he was laughing very hard; then I looked at his face and his eyes were rolling and he couldn’t talk. His lips were turning purple,” she said.
She screamed for help but he died despite the efforts of a doctor and two nurses to resuscitate him.
His body was moved to a crew rest area that was curtained off and Preechakul asked to sit next to his blanket-covered body for the rest of the flight.