Emirates Flight Attendant Jumps From Aircraft To Her Death

This is just an awful week when it comes to news in the airline industry. We saw a plane crash in Nepal, we saw a dog die in the overhead bin on a United flight, and now there’s another tragic story.

The Daily Monitor in Uganda is reporting that an Emirates flight attendant jumped off a plane at Entebbe Airport earlier today (note: the link has very graphic images, so only click the link if you want to see those — I feel sick to my stomach after seeing them, so I won’t post them here).

While the plane (which was a Boeing 777-300ER) was doing a turn, the crew member opened the emergency exit and jumped out. The story suggests she sustained life threatening injuries, though the sources I’ve heard from suggest that she died. It would seem that she had worked the flight from Dubai to Entebbe, and this happened upon arrival. There was a crew change there.

While the exact details surrounding the incident haven’t yet been released, it seems that this wasn’t an accident. Eyewitness reports say she had been seen holding what looked like a glass bottle under her chin before she jumped. She also was the one to open the emergency exit. Other eyewitness reports suggest she got into a verbal exchange with colleagues as they boarded the plane.

An eyewitness says “her knees were shattered and body cut with broken glass from a bottle she jumped with.”

The flight back to Dubai ended up only being delayed by about 75 minutes, which seems small for an incident like this. I have to imagine that the crew was traumatized (even if it was a different crew that took over the plane there).

I’ll share any other details as they become available. However, generally we don’t learn too much about these incidents, both out of respect for the families, and also because the UAE isn’t as forthcoming with information about incidents as some other countries might be.

This is yet another heartbreaking story, and my thoughts are with the flight attendant’s family. I know everyone goes through tough times, but we only get one life to live (at least as far as I’m concerned). If you’re feeling down, talk to someone — there’s always help and support out there, and it gets better.

(Tip of the hat to Sean M)

Comments

  1. Terribly sad. Always a tragedy when someone feels the need to end their own life. 🙁
    (to anyone reading this that is feeling suicidal, please please please reach out to anyone, there are people in your life that care about you whether you know it or not!)

    Not to get too technical but, if that happened wouldn’t it be that Emirates didn’t have enough crew to operate the flight? Is it possible it was a member of the cleaning crew?

    Can’t imagine Emirates would only delay the flight 75 minutes and not cancel it.

  2. @ CR — Well said!

    Emirates staffs flights above minimums, so they could operate a flight even if they were down one crew member. Based on the graphic picture in the linked article, it’s clear that it was a flight attendant.

  3. I believe this was a crew member on the inbound flight rather than the return to Dubai, so the crew on layover in Uganda would not have been reduced by this (and also why the return flight was only delayed slightly).

  4. Eternal shame on Emirates for proceeding with the flight in the face of such a tragedy. It is neither normal nor acceptable; they should have cancelled it and sent the passengers out on other carriers….recognising the trauma to the other staff as well as out of respect for the FA. Dreadful.

  5. Yeah, Uganda will do that to a person. What reason would Emirates have, or any other airline, to fly to Entebbe. A nightmare country when you read its history. Frightening.

  6. So my contact at Emirates told me she’s from Bulgaria, one of the nicer long time working cabin crew. If you want the name, I can do that in a PM

  7. Yes when you depressed and wanting to end your life you should stop feeling that way for some time and start thinking of your priorities, life goals, sports activities, etc. Clearly no clue what depression is, right? So much compassion. Perhaps you also think it’s her fault and she shoud be punished for that…

  8. Sources say that she was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries. None of them actually state that the F/A died. Jumping/falling out of a 777 is definitely extremely dangerous. A 5 m (16 ft) fall is extremely dangerous.

  9. @Chris L, many countries have a troubled past. Uganda is a beautiful country with a bright future, and is a wonderful place to visit.

  10. This is very tragic..I used to work at this airport..to Chris L above…what does Uganda have to do with none cancellation of the flight? It’s emirates making business here not Uganda. If plane was grounded it’s mainly Emirates that would be making loses ..please don’t judge Uganda by its past..that was sensitive

  11. @Paolo don’t be an idiot. You’re going to inconvenience passengers because someone was selfish enough to take their own life? I hope to God you’re never a decision maker in any aspect of life.

  12. Chris you’r too irrelevant for this matter.
    Such kind of thinking bothers me
    Anyways I stand with the crew.prayers for her n the family.

  13. My heart breaks for her. Shame on the outlets sharing uncensored images. I recognised her face from the photos. I only hope her family were informed before they saw this all over the Internet. I hope she is taken care of, whatever that entails now. So very tragic.

  14. What a sad story 🙁 But it is not the first time when EK crew commits/tries to commit suicide ( IF that’s it was, or was it just an acciden? ). I know at least ten other stories like that from Dubai…

  15. @Ex EK Crew: “I recognized her face from the photos.” Give me a break!!!! Unless you have a super computer with facial recognition or a source other than the ones Google provides the news on the internet there is no way to recognize her by what you see on the pictures. Yes, tragic event but you making it even more tragic.

  16. Terrible to hear of such happenings on a flight I only took the day before this terrible occurrence. This flight brings me such joy as it is the flight that brings me home to see my family. Hopefully there shall be a fitting dedication to this poor, poor woman.

  17. @Santastico: I could make out her face clearly enough in the Daily Monitor photo that had I known her, I would have recognized her face. And no, I don’t have a super computer with facial recognition; it’s a 3-year old Dell with a HP LED 25″ monitor.

  18. @Paolo,

    However tragic and it is, Entebbe is not a place where you want to subject 300 passengers to a lengthy delay. I have been there (too much actually, over the years) and I do not see what cancelling the flight would have achieved. “Sending passengers out on other carriers” is a limited option due to very little traffic, and delaying old or sick passengers without their medications etc is about sure to result in more problems.

    Just imagine a place where returning passengers’ luggage statistically means that 1 passenger in 50 never sees his/her bag(s) again because they disappear during the operation. Any sick passenger would face being treated in a very basic (and filthy, trust me) local clinic or being sent to Kampala, 65 kilometers away, with a good chance of being killed by the potholes if nothing else.

    EK did the right thing by proceeding with the flight.

  19. @Ruth & D.Saw well said.
    @Chris you probably haven’t physically been to UGANDA but rather through your imagination from the history you’ve been reading…
    Wake up from the past and start living in the present..
    My prayers to the crew.

  20. Too bad something like that happened but i still wonder if it was really suicidal. I always listen to hlw to use the emergency exit doors but never been so keen, but dont u think using it is so easy that one can press the open button or handle, (what ever it is) by mistake that it would open and draw someone out by mistake ? Think about it , because for one to commit suicide , they dont need to wait for the plane to land and they jump off when the plane is parking. I think she lost her life by mistake. May her soul rest in peace

  21. @ Tom — While I wouldn’t ever like to assume that someone is suicidal, opening a door on a 777 takes more than just pushing a button. You have to turn a pretty big lever, which you really couldn’t do my accident. This also wasn’t one of the doors that is typically opened.

  22. @Lucky: Maybe a murder? Open door, push her out and say “Oh, no! She was suicidal” Who knows. Is there reliable info where the crew member survived or not? Sources diverge on that point

  23. Santastico, I assure you, she was recognisable enough to people who have worked with and know her. These images are extremely devastating to the crew in general let alone those connected to her.

    It’s disgusting and I hope that if these pictures were taken by airport staff that those responsible are sacked. No excuse for publicising it. Do what you need to for the investigation but don’t turn it into a circus. Imagine if that were your sister or girlfriend.

  24. I was expecting a plane in mid flight where someone would jump. I just don’t get it. How can you die from jumping from a grounded plane emergency door to the ground.

  25. Some of the comments on this thread are reprehensible.

    Although this report might appear “newsworthy”, I’m not sure it was a wise decision to include on this website as it has attracted appalling comments.

  26. This is a very sad story. Interesting that the movie 7 Days in Entebbe is out this week.

  27. @LCVD: She didn’t die. She’s alive according to a press release of the local CAA.

    @Andromeda: This type of article does attract that type of comments unfortunately. Lucky may want to police the comment sector more efficiently or refrain from doing these types of stories. Currently there are 4 (2x dogs on UA, the Alaska pilot and this one). All of them attracted (or will do so) the worst possible comments imaginable.

  28. Stories like this need to be shared, pressure needs to be put on countries that fail in providing human rights. If you search for other similar stories you will find many. There are many more stories that never get out. These residents become trapped financially and by other means, they are unable to speak out for fear of inprisonment or worse. When you choose where you book your next holiday people should be aware of who they are supporting with their hard earned money. I wish I could say more but I’m one of these employees.

  29. My condolences to her family and loved ones. This hurts to read. As for reaching out helping? Lmao it never helped me when I was going through a tough time

  30. I can understand the emotions and expression of opinions such an article can invoke. But are we really suggesting omission and sensorship? I can understand why those would want to cancel a flight over such tragedy. But our emotions cannot and should not be the answer. Canceling an international flight is bigger than just the people on that plan. It affects hundreds of other fliers, airports. That one snowballs into so much more. Logically it makes no sense to affects 1000’s of other people for one.

    My heart goes out to the flight attendant. The thoughts of wanting to end ones life is traumatic…. for one to actually do it.. the Pain she felt inside had to be way greater than any pain that could be inflicted from the outside. I wouldn’t wish that state of being on anyone. And if we learned to accept differences instead of condemning others… she may have not wanted to do such a thing. Let’s practice more understanding, less judgmenting!

  31. I can understand the emotions that an article like this will invoke and ones need to share those… we are all in doing it; but are we really suggesting omission and censorship? I can Understand why some feel the flight should have been canceled. That’s a very human response based solely on emotion; however logically are we considering the impact that one flight will have on the whole travel industry? Your talking about not just the travelers on that plan. But every flight it’s attached to, every airport filled with travelers depending on that plan landing at some point in time. It makes no sense to affect 1000’s of people for one. Especially when the flight continuing has zero relation to the safety of the other passengers.

    As for the flight attendant, my heart goes out to her. Suicide is an epidemic in today’s world. Part of it is the direct result of such critisicism that’s been displayed here in reponer to others opinions or thoughts. We as people really need to stop and plan our words a little more carefully and employ empathy and compassion to all not just with person who was pushed to the point of attempting suicide in mind. We really need more expression of acceptance, understanding…… less judgmenting. And god forbid those who agree with cancellation find out what happens to those who pass away on a cruise ship!

  32. The flight attendant actually survived and is in hospital. So much for “Jumping to her death”

  33. ChrisL I do suggest you visit the country before making such a wildly inaccurate and facile statement from the comfort of your sofa.

    I have travelled to Uganda many times, staying with locals. It is a beautiful country, with dignified and decent people who are hamstrung by a selfish and self-serving government.

    I really do get sick of you armchair experts. Try using a sock next time you feel like displaying your ignorance and making a fool of yourself.

  34. @lucky opening on ground a 777 door which its not armed is so easy, you just need to move the lever and its not hard enough…

  35. Yes, as per the Ugandan Civil Aviation Authority press release the lady is still alive. The Ugandan Civil Aviation Authority in their press release said – “Contrary to some social media posts, the lady is alive”.

  36. Gulf News reports:

    An Emirates spokesperson said, “We can confirm that a member of our cabin crew unfortunately fell off from an open door while preparing the aircraft for boarding on flight EK729 from Entebbe on 14 March. The injured crew member was brought to the nearest hospital.

    Having lived in Dubai since 1982, I know that the UAE has a history of covering up facts, but they are getting slightly more honest and open.

    Two true anecdotes which probably wouldn’t happen today: A Gulf Air plane crashed in Abu Dhabi: painters were sent to white out the logos and tail fin before any photographer was allowed to take pictures. The 2nd day after the fraternal sheikh coup in Sharjah, the headline in the Gulf News was “Yesterday’s News Did Not Happen”. Things have moved on a bit since those days.

  37. Imagine someone called Pierra claimed that at entebbe ”returning passengers’ luggage statistically means that 1 passenger in 50 never sees his/her bag(s) again because they disappear during the operation” can you validate the source of your information? You may also claim that the lady got scared of entebbe and decided to take her life. People saw the lady walk to the emmergence exit door with a glass, she opened and jumped. She died before reaching hospital (RIP). Emirates management must investigated since passengers claim that she had earlier picked a quarrel with fellow crew members.

  38. By reading some comments here other people are speaking of cancelling the flight. Do you know how much it was going to cost the company? Am really feeling very bad for her, the F/A, if she’s still in the hospital as others are saying let God bring her back to normal; but the flight should go and not to be cancelled. 70 minutes of delay they got will cost them a lot for connecting passengers and now what of cancellation? before saying something we need also to think about advantages and disadvantages. When this happened yesterday, I saw it from Facebook but I thought it was a joke until I confirmed with a colleague in EBB Int Airport because I also worked there for some weeks and i know some Ugandans at the airport, especially the company that handle Emirates. I felt very very bad because since am working at airport such accident has never happened where I am. Many things to say but let just pray for this to not happen again.

  39. The doors must surely have been in the “armed” position. So why didn’t the emergency slide deploy instantly?

  40. @ Peter 95949 — The plane was at the gate, so the doors should have been disarmed, unless I’m missing something?

  41. Whatever the circumstances of this tragic incident there should not be any pictures published of this young woman . It’s bad enough hearing about it let alone to see it!! How her family must feel is beyond thinking about ! Shameful journalism !!

  42. So i guess u all are aware that the FA did lose her life 🙁 May her soul rest in peace as I believe peace is what she would have been seeking 🙁
    And to some of those questions out there… if this was intentional, all she had to do was rotate that lever, give that door a push and jump! The door was definitely disarmed cos passengers were boarding. So no need to remove any girt bar either.
    Whatever was the cause, this is sad… and my prayers for the family.

  43. She was a nice person, whatever lead to this tragedy is yet unknown, & if it was caused by someone, that someone should be held responsible, all the prayers & the condolences to her family & loved ones, stop harassing her memory with these photos & rumors.

  44. Maybe its nice to comment. But I was wondering how CAA and Uganda at large comes into the whole tragedy.

  45. Emirates did confirm yesterday PM that the FA Elena did pass away on arrival to the hospital. They won’t comment on how, nor the circumstances preceding the incident, however, what is known is that the crew of the flight have been put on staff days and will be attending the investigation. Absolute shame as she was a very kind person and was a great FA. Thoughts go to her family, and I do hope the truth is revealed. If she did jump, there should be a thorough inquiry into EK’s lack of care in regards to mental health.

  46. This is not a tradegy, she never does either. Emirates and other news sources already update. She opened the door and fell out by mistake, hit the tarmac and is ALIVE. She went to hospital

  47. That’s what you get for working for Middle East shithole countries. No rights for women yet of course we all love their fancy first class and hotels sucks but nothing will change

  48. Chris you are very mistaken, Emirates sent out an email to their crew last night saying she passed away. Bulgarian crew knew of her passing before EK alerted the crew, as they were trying to forewarn the family.

    It was the L4 door, and has no requirement nor need to be open during that stage of embarkation & furthermore no other crew was at the door with her as it opened. Thus highlighting the fact that she infact opened it willingly, and potentially jumped/fell – all up to the investigation to determine that and not for us to speculate.

    It is a tragedy, she has a family, kids, no one should be in that amount of dispair and not feel like they can talk. It’s horribly upsetting!

  49. Phil, you certainly are an idiot. UAE has more rights for women than men. The only shit coming out of a hole is you. Does anyone else smell that that bullshit? You really need to go see the world or maybe you’re just racist.

  50. I have lived in UAE for 11 years and it was the most beautiful 11 years in my life- and I am a woman.

    I am heartbroken to read about the F/A.
    RIP to her soul.

  51. There was no crew change in Uganda. This is a turnaround flight from Dubai mid way through the Duty.
    Emirates flights always operate with more than minimum crew required to operate doors due to pax volume and service requirements.

  52. Unfortunately things inside EK are going out of hand. Thousand changes inside the company with loads of staff benefits being cut. Last month in one of the management forums a team of 2000 flight attendants gathered at HQ to complain of all changes made. Flight attendants are getting threaten by ‘fashion police’ in order to reduce weight. Some of them are even grounded and asked to lose 10kg in 3 months. Other flight attendants are getting terminated at their 50ties as they got ‘old’ enough to work for the company. Unfortunately this flight attendant who died was reaching her 50ties, I don’t know if they were watching her about her image in uniform. But all those threats pilled up emotionally in any person’s life. Try to live this way, receiving threats every single day and let me know how would you feel to work under those circumstances.

  53. Ok, so Lucky (the writer of this article) says he was “sick to my stomach after seeing the pic’s”?? I only see ONE photo. Woman laying on the tarmac, two guys standing nearby.

    So Mr Lucky… THAT’s what makes you sick?? REALLY?
    Is Lucky the guy that titled this story as “flight-attendant-jumps-to-her-death”
    Leading many readers to first think this was a in-flight mishap…
    Finally, the “death” part?? All the reader comments stating she’s recovering in hospital.

    Hmmm. Maybe Lucky’s a newbie– New reporter just out of reporting skool?

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