A man whose strong smell caused a Transavia Airlines flight to make an emergency landing in late May has passed away due to tissue necrosis, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported.
The passenger has been identified as Russian rock guitarist Andrey Suchilin, 58.
The musician was on the Canary Islands for a vacation when he contracted an infection that caused his body tissues to die, which resulted in the unpleasant smell.
The odor made other passengers vomit and faint before the plane decided to make an emergency landing at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in the Netherlands.
Lidia, Suchilin’s wife, wrote on Facebook, saying that medical officials from Spain told her husband that it was only an ‘ordinary beach infection.’ He was given antibiotics, but his condition got worse during the flight to Amsterdam.
One of the passengers, Piet van Haut, said that it seemed as if the man had not showered for weeks. “It was like he hadn’t washed himself for several weeks. Several passengers got sick and had to puke,” he expressed.
Airline crew members tried to keep the 58-year-old man contained in the bathroom as the pilot diverted to flight. The plane landed in Portugal, where Suchilin was removed from the Boeing 737 and placed on a bus.
Van Haut also told VRT: “Eventually we landed in Amsterdam with almost three hours delay. Nobody could stand the stench. Everyone tried to cover their nose.”
The strong odor was not the result of poor hygiene but caused by necrosis. The infection leads to the premature death of cells due to low levels of oxygen.
The airliner confirmed in a statement that the emergency landing was due to medical reasons. “The aeroplane diverted because of medical reasons, but it is indeed right that he smelled quite a bit,” a Transavia spokesperson told Express.
On May 30, Suchilin wrote on Facebook saying that his health insurance had expired. He and his wife were in a country with no medical care, consulate support, and money. This led to a delay in seeking proper medical attention, which only occurred after close friends raised funds to help pay for hospital bills.
“The tragic and comic component of this whole situation is that I caught a disease, which (let’s not say how and why) makes a man quite stinky,” he added.
Lidia wrote an update on June 2 saying that even after the surgery, the “tissue necrosis couldn’t be stopped yet,” and that Suchilin was placed in a coma. However, his condition became worse, and he passed away on June 25 after the necrosis spread to his kidneys, lungs, and heart.
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