NEWS: On 18 October 2015, Ireland’s RTÉ News reported that a 24-year-old male passenger fell ill and died on an Aer Lingus flight en route from Lisbon to Dublin:
The death of a a 24-year-old man on board an Aer Lingus flight from Lisbon to Dublin this evening is being investigated.
The flight was diverted to Cork Airport after a 24-year-old man became agitated about an hour into the two hour journey.
It is reported that he bit another passenger before being restrained.
That outlet’s earliest reporting simply indicated an individual had died during the flight:
Passenger dies on board Aer Lingus aircraft, plane directed to Cork http://t.co/Wsy4ftXbSn
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) October 18, 2015
The passenger’s relative youth suggested that his death was likely unexpected and sudden, and the unconfirmed claim that the young man “bit” a fellow passenger before his demise catapulted the story to multiple news sites across the globe:
The Irish Mirror says the man “ran amok” and was restrained after becoming “extremely violent.” … Ominously, a second man from the flight has been taken to the hospital. The remaining passengers were transported to Dublin via bus.
The origin of “reports” that the young man bit a fellow passenger wasn’t apparent. A story by the UK’s Guardian newspaper (since updated) featured a slightly less suggestive tone:
A man has died on board an Aer Lingus flight from Lisbon to Dublin after reportedly being restrained when he became agitated and bit a man, Irish police said. RTÉ reported that a second man was taken to hospital and that the estimated 170 passengers and crew on board the plane were being questioned. The passengers were due to be taken to Dublin by bus.
Aer Lingus didn’t comment on the incident, but The Guardian published a follow-up article reporting that a fellow passenger from the flight was subsequently arrested under Ireland’s Drug Trafficking Act:
Irish police have arrested a Portuguese woman in connection with the death of a man on an Aer Lingus flight from Lisbon to Dublin. Luggage was examined and a substance was discovered in the bags of the woman who was arrested. The substance has yet to be analysed. The woman was taken to Togher Garda station for questioning.
RTÉ later tweeted that some of the dead passenger’s possessions had been obtained for further investigation:
The deceased Aer Lingus passenger was not publicly identified, but he was believed to have been a Brazilian national. After a three-hour delay in Cork, passengers from the flight were transported to Dublin.