The number of Americans getting on airplanes has sunk to a level not seen in more than 60 years as people shelter in their homes to avoid catching or spreading the new coronavirus. (April 10)

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An American Airlines flight attendant who had worked for the carrier for 20 years died at work Sunday, the union representing the carrier’s cabin crew confirmed to USA TODAY.

“It is with deep sadness that we inform you of the sudden passing of Joe Tormes, St. Louis-based flight attendant, on Sunday, July 5, 2020,” AFPA said in a press release on its website. “Joe and his wife Elsa Jett-Tormes were working a flight together when Joe passed away. Joe flew with American for 20 years.”

He was 61, said American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein.

Feinstein said Tormes and his wife were working Flight 1296 from Indianapolis to Dallas when he fell ill. It diverted to St. Louis for the medical emergency, landing at 8:05 a.m. CDT Sunday.  A new crew was called in and the plane took off for Dallas that afternoon.

The APFA said the couple have a son, Brandon Jett and that the union is working “directly with the family to support their needs.”

It also expressed gratitude to the airport customer service and flight operations teams at St. Louis Lambert International Airport “for their support for Jett and our customers onboard the flight.”

The union said details for a memorial service and donations would be coming soon.

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Contributing: Dawn Gilbertson, USA TODAY


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