Human heart left on Southwest plane forces pilot to turn around

Human heart left on Southwest plane forces pilot to turn around

Human heart left on Southwest plane forces pilot to turn around

"Once we realized the error we immediately worked to return to Seattle", airline spokesman Dan Landson told French news agency AFP.

It's not clear what the heart was for.

Deanna Santa of Sierra Donor Services in Sacramento told the Seattle Times that there was no designated patient for the valve. But the shock gave way to kindness, and many onboard were "happy to save a life".

A hairpin turn had to be made upon the organ's discovery so that it could be "delivered to its destination within the window of time allotted by our cargo customer", Southwest said.

The Southwest Airlines plane was flying over eastern Idaho and 600 miles into its journey when staff discovered the "life critical cargo shipment".

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None of the 112 passengers and five crew members were injured after Flight 278 from Oakland landed on a collapsible portion of runway, which was meant to prevent planes from sliding farther on the runway, airline spokeswoman Brandy King told CNBC.

The incident has been described by a doctor in the Seattle Times newspaper as a "horrific story of gross negligence". "There's a time limit to get where it needs to go". Once they made it back to Seattle, passengers had to transfer to a different aircraft for an unrelated mechanical issue, causing a total of about a 5-hour delay, the paper reported.

Many commercial airlines, including Southwest, ship organs intended for transplants and human remains to help them maximize revenue.

If being used for a transplant, an organ can typically be stored for between four and six hours.

The heart had traveled from California to Washington state, across Idaho and back to Washington, according to the Times.

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