D-G: Man who died on flight suffered heart attack

KUALA LUMPUR - The 64-year-old Indonesian man who died during an AirAsia X flight from Jeddah to Kuala Lumpur had suffered a heart attack, the Health Ministry said.

The ministry's director-general, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the man had not died because of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

"Based on information gathered, the man experienced fever, cough, difficulty in breathing and loss of appetite in Mecca for a few days.

"The man had sought treatment at a clinic there," Dr Noor Hisham said in a statement here yesterday.

He said during the flight from Jeddah, the man experienced difficulty in breathing and died.

His body was sent to the Serdang Hospital for a post-mortem.

"Since the man was returning from performing the umrah (in Mecca), samples were taken to screen for MERS-CoV and they returned negative," added Dr Noor Hisham.

He said the ministry immediately acted on several preventive and control measures, including gathering information on those who came into close contact with the patient, flight disinfection and screening all the 244 passengers and 12 crew members for fever.

"One passenger was diagnosed with mild sysmptoms, fever and cough but there were no respiratory problems.

"The passenger was given symptomatic treatment and briefed on all preventive measures," said Dr Noor Hisham, adding that the sick person was advised to seek treatment if not cured within 14 days.