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American Airlines Sued After Miami Man Dies In-Flight

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – American Airlines is being sued by a South Florida family who claims their loved one died after eating a meal served by the carrier.

The wife and daughter of the late Othon Cortes of Miami are suing the airline and Sky Chefs for more than $1 million, alleging he ate food contaminated with bacteria during a flight from Barcelona, Spain, to New York, according to CNN.com.

In the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Miami, Cortes ate the in-flight meal which contained chicken on May 18th.

A spokesman for LSG Sky Chefs, a German company that produces airline meals for more than 300 airlines, said Sky Chefs could not be responsible for it did not cater Cortes’s Barcelona flight.

American Airlines has declined comment.

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The lawsuit states Cortes became ill after the plane landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he and his wife waited for their next flight to Miami. The flight to Miami had to make an emergency landing in Norfolk, Virginia, the family stated, when Cortes suffered a cardiac event. He was pronounced dead on arrival.

Cortes’ family alleges that his death was caused by poisoned food that American Airlines and Sky Chefs served on the international flight.

 It accuses the companies of “failing to properly maintain or prepare the food” and alleges the companies allowed the food to become contaminated with Clostridium perfringens bacteria. Perfringens poisoning is one of the most commonly reported foodborne illnesses in the U.S., according to the FDA. It is very rarely fatal, but a few deaths have been reported as a result of dehydration and other complications, the agency said.

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