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Autopsy Report: Scholar Found Dead After 17 Hours Inside SFO Lounge Bathroom

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- An autopsy report on the death of a well-respected East Asian scholar with long ties to Stanford University reveals he was found dead in a bathroom at in a San Francisco International Airport lounge nearly 18 hours after he entered the lounge.

On October 29th, 2018, Ming Kou Chan was seen on SFO security video walking into the bathroom inside the Cathay Pacific first class lounge before a planned flight to Hong Kong. He never emerged.

17 hours and 20 minutes later, someone found Chan unresponsive inside the swanky Italian marble-lined bathroom.

Ming K Chan
Ming K. Chan (Stanford University)

Chan's autopsy report from the San Mateo County coroner shows multiple rib fractures due to CPR, but the attempts to revive him were futile. Chan was declared dead.

"From the airport's perspective--we typically to leave it up to the airlines to manage the situation whenever the passengers don't actually board the flight," said Malcolm Yeung of the airport commission.


The report shows that Chan had coronary atherosclerosis, or clogged arteries in his heart. The report still doesn't explain why he languished on the floor for nearly a day before someone found him.

In a statement, Cathay Pacific did not explain why no one discovered Chan. "Out of respect for the parties involved, we will not be commenting on the specifics of the incident."

SFO spokesperson Doug Yakel says the first class lounge is under direct control of Cathay Pacific and the airport is not responsible for that part of the terminal.

After graduating from Stanford with a PhD in East Asian History in 1975, Chan served as a Hoover Institution Research Fellow and was affiliated with the university's Center for East Asian Studies as a visiting scholar and distinguished practitioner for many years.

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