Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 June 2019

American whose heart attack caused flight to divert to Iran to return

The American whose heart attack caused a UAE-US flight to be diverted to Iran is recovering from surgery and plans to return to Dubai on Tuesday.
DUBAI // The American whose heart attack caused a UAE-US flight to be diverted to Iran is recovering from surgery and plans to return to Dubai tomorrow.

James Eisenhart, a 52-year-old manager, had been flying from Dubai to his home in Seattle.

"They took wonderful care of me and, God willing, I will be on a plane to Dubai on Tuesday," he said, speaking by phone from a hospital in Tehran.

The heart attack occurred about one hour into the flight, he said. The airline crew contacted doctors via satellite phone and sent EKG reports monitoring his heart.

"The decision was made that the closest, best medical facilities was to turn around and come back to Tehran," Mr Eisenhart said.

He arrived at hospital around 4.30pm local time and received an angioplasty, followed by medicine to prevent artery blockage, said his nurse, Faranak Ressalei.

"Fortunately, he's good and his condition is OK," she said.

The incident offers a counterpoint to tensions over Iran's nuclear programme and US-led sanctions.

"Despite international sanctions against the Iranian people which also endanger their lives, yesterday we helped an American citizen in our country," Abbas Mosaybe, a spokesperson for Iran's Civil Aviation Organisation, said on Saturday, the ISNA Iranian news agency reported.

Mr Eisenhart praised the airplane crew and hospital staff.

"I've got to say, very high praise to the professionalism of the Emirati crew. They took very swift action to make sure that I was OK," he said. "The doctors and the staff have been above and beyond taking care of me."

The original flight arrived in Seattle after a three-hour delay.

chuang@thenational.ae

Updated: April 15, 2012 04:00 AM

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