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EMT Gives CPR To Suspected Coronavirus Patient On LAX-Bound Flight, Now Feeling Symptoms

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) -- After a man with coronavirus symptoms fell ill on an LAX-bound flight and later died at the hospital, the individual who performed CPR on him said he too is now experiencing signs of the virus.

This all unfolded Monday night on a United Airlines flight from Orlando to Los Angeles.

When Tony Aldapa saw the man in grave condition, he used his EMT training to try to save him by performing CPR, along with help from others.

"It was all kind of just second nature to see someone in a bad place, you try to bring them out of the bad place," Aldapa said. "There were three of us that were essentially tag-teaming doing chest compressions, probably about 45 minutes."

The passenger's wife later revealed that her husband had symptoms of coronavirus before getting on the flight and was heading home to get tested.

"She told me he had symptoms, he was short of breath and she just wanted to get him home and they plan on getting tested this week," Aldapa said.

After making an emergency landing to transport the man to the hospital, where he later died, the flight continued on to LAX.

Aldapa is now worried he has the coronavirus.

"Essentially I just feel like I got hit by a train," he said. "I had a cough, my whole body still hurt, I had a headache."

United Airlines said they were initially informed that the passenger suffered cardiac arrest, but didn't know of his possible coronavirus symptoms, saying in a statement:

"We are sharing requested information with the (CDC) so they can work with local health officials to conduct outreach to any customer the CDC believes may be at risk for possible exposure or infection."

Airline passengers are required to fill out a form acknowledging they have not tested positive or had symptoms in the last 14 days, but proof is not required.

Aldapa says the CDC has not yet reached out to him. In a statement to CBS Los Angeles, the CDC said:

The "CDC is in the process of collecting information and proceeding according to our standard operating procedures to determine if further public health action is appropriate. To protect the privacy of the individual, we aren't providing this information to the public."

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