This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
What was supposed to be a 14-hour flight from Texas to South Korea was turning into a hellish 40 hours of travel from Sunday to Tuesday including a medical-emergency diversion to Salt Lake City.
The trip on American Airlines Flight 281 to Seoul started with a delay of one hour and 43 minutes in Dallas from its scheduled 10:40 a.m. departure Sunday. It finally left at 12:23 p.m., airline records show.
When it was over northern Wyoming, a passenger suffered a medical emergency so the flight diverted to Salt Lake City International Airport, said American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein.
It landed in the Utah capital at 3:06 p.m. local time, and spent 3½ hours on the ground.
The ill passenger was taken to a hospital. Neither the airline nor the airport would identify that passenger, so his or her condition is unknown.
Feinstein said the Boeing 777 landed overweight in Salt Lake City because it was heavily loaded with fuel for the long international flight. So it had to drain some fuel into trucks and had to undergo additional inspection before it could leave.
By the time it departed, the crew could not finish the flight to Korea under work-time limitation rules set by the Federal Aviation Administration, Feinstein said. So the flight returned to Dallas, arriving there at 10:16 p.m. Sunday, Dallas time.
The airline's online flight-tracking page says it did not depart for Korea again until 12:21 p.m. Monday, Dallas time. The flight was scheduled to arrive in Seoul at 4:38 p.m. local time there (2:38 a.m. Houston time Tuesday) or 40 hours after the original scheduled departure.