A 9-month-old girl on a plane carrying Afghan evacuees died Wednesday after arriving at the Philadelphia airport with her father. The infant’s death represents the first known death of an evacuee on U.S. soil.
As reported by cbsnews.com, Chris Mitchell, a spokesman for the Department of Defense, said the girl was on a C-17 flying from Germany to Philadelphia International Airport when she became unresponsive. EMTs met the aircraft when it landed, and the girl and her father were sent to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where she was pronounced dead at 10:10 p.m.
A spokeswoman for the Philadelphia Police Department said officers responded to a call of a sudden infant death and were met at the hospital by agents from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, who said the Afghan girl had “suffered a medical emergency.” The police department’s special victims unit and the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating the death.
The City of Philadelphia pronounced a statement about the sad event. “We send our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the decedent.”
The Philadelphia airport has processed 3,654 Afghan evacuees who arrived between August 28 and September 1, according to the latest data shared by the city.
According to nbcphiladelphia.com, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said the Afghan refugees are given medical assistance and food from U.S. Customs at the airport. They then have some time to rest before taking buses to a military base in New Jersey. Eventually, Kenney said, they will settle at different locations in the United States, including potentially the Philadelphia region.
“This is a federal-led operation, and we are collaborating with the federal government in this emergency response, protecting the rights and dignity of the Afghan families arriving in the country,” a spokeswoman for Kenney said over the weekend. “We stand ready to provide medical assistance, housing, and connection to our diverse community of immigrant service providers who can assist with an array of social services.”