8-year-old girl dies after suffering medical emergency on SkyWest flight to Chicago

An 8-year-old Missouri girl was pronounced dead after she became “ill and unresponsive” during a SkyWest flight to Chicago on Thursday, according to authorities.

The flight, which took off from Joplin, Missouri, was headed to Chicago before making an emergency landing in Peoria, Illinois.

“His family immediately notified flight personnel of his condition and they quickly began rendering aid. Upon landing in Peoria, he was not breathing or having a pulse,” detailed a statement from the Peoria County Coroner's Office.

The minor was identified as Sydney Weston, of Carl Junction, Missouri, the coroner's office reported.

The plane landed at Peoria General Wayne A. Downing International Airport around 7 a.m. due to a medical emergency, the Peoria County Sheriff's Office said on Facebook Thursday.

Emergency personnel, including deputies and the Air National Guard, applied “life-saving measures,” but the girl was later pronounced dead at a local hospital, according to authorities.

SkyWest Airlines confirmed Friday that the girl was aboard Flight 5121, operating as United Express, from Joplin to Chicago O'Hare International Airport, when a passenger became ill and the flight was diverted to Peoria.

There, “she was met by paramedics to treat a passenger with medical problems. We appreciate the efforts of our crew members who responded quickly to help and the medical staff who received the aircraft,” SkyWest said.

The girl died shortly after 8:00 a.m., the coroner's office said. “There was no evidence of foul play or signs of abuse or neglect,” they said in a statement Friday.

They also said a preliminary autopsy was inconclusive “and is pending several studies.”

Medical staff are awaiting histology, biopsies, cultures, hematology and blood chemistry tests, and toxicology. Results usually take four to six weeks.

“Once we have completed those tests, we are hopeful that we will be able to provide a definitive and accurate cause of this child's death and give her family some answers,” the coroner's office said.

Sydney Weston's family could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.