Airplane passengers help save man's life before flight from Detroit to Orlando takes off

Nurse on board uses defibrillator after man's heart stops

ROMULUS, Mich. – Passengers on a flight from Detroit to Orlando jumped into action to save a man on board who stopped breathing right before the plane left Detroit Metro Airport.

Spirit Flight 802 was slightly delayed by everything that went down on the tarmac, but passengers said the results of the delay made it worth the extra time.

Images showed the aftermath when paramedics wheeled a man off the plane, but it was just after 9 a.m. Tuesday when the emergency happened.

"Somebody just said, 'Call 911,' and you never expect to hear that on the plane," nurse Sue Kneehouse said.

The call for help came after a man collapsed on the plane.

"His heart stopped," Kneehouse said. "He was in arrhythmia. He was gone and he didn't have a pulse."

Fortunately, Kneehouse was on board and quickly grabbed the defibrillator, while others also helped.

"His heart was getting all funky and stuff," 11-year-old Canadian passenger Nina Capusano said. "The defibrillator brought him back and everyone started clapping, and then they brought him out."

"It's absolutely the right thing to do," passenger Jeff Kruger said. "You have a chance to continue life, and this is the only life that we have."

"Everybody who could help tried to help," passenger Felipe Capusano said. "Everybody was surreal on how calm it was, actually."

The flight continued safely to Orlando, while emergency crews rushed the man to Metro Detroit Hospital. He's still recovering from the scare.

About the Authors:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.