8-year-old girl has medical emergency on SkyWest flight to Chicago and dies

An 8-year-old Missouri girl became “sick and unresponsive” Thursday on a SkyWest flight to Chicago and was later pronounced dead, authorities said.

The flight the child was on took off from Joplin, Missouri, and was headed to Chicago before making an emergency landing in Peoria, Illinois.

“His family immediately informed the flight attendants of his condition, and they quickly began providing him with assistance. When she landed in Peoria, she was not breathing and had no pulse,” according to a statement from the Peoria County Coroner’s Office.

The child was identified as Sydney Weston, of Carl Junction, Missouri, the coroner’s office said.

The plane landed at General Wayne A. Downing International Airport in Peoria around 7 a.m. due to a medical emergency, according to a statement from the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office posted Thursday on its Facebook page.

Emergency personnel, including deputies and the Air National Guard, attempted “life-saving measures” but the child was later pronounced dead at a local hospital, the sheriff’s office said.

In a statement to NBC News on Friday, SkyWest Airlines confirmed that the child was on board Flight 5121, operating as United Express, from Joplin to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, when a passenger was fell ill and the flight was diverted to Peoria.

There, she was “greeted by paramedics to attend to a passenger in medical distress.” We appreciate the efforts of our crew members who responded quickly to help and the medical personnel who greeted the aircraft,” SkyWest said.

The girl, whose autopsy was scheduled for Friday, died shortly after 8 a.m., the coroner’s office said.

Sydney Weston’s family could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.

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