An American Airlines flight attendant died from coronavirus on Monday.
In a statement Thursday, the airlines said, “Earlier this week, we lost a respected, longtime member of the American Airlines family, who tested positive for COVID-19.”
The Philadelphia-based flight attendant, identified as 65-year-old Paul Frishkorn, was “answering questions and assisting our members through this difficult time” in the crew room before he fell ill.
“Our hearts go out to Paul’s family and friends, many of whom work for American. We are working directly with his family to ensure they are cared for during this extraordinarily difficult time,” the statement added.
It was not known when he tested positive for COVID-19.
Speaking to CNN, Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, said, “He was amazing, and totally selfless, and just a … good soldier who never asked for any recognition, other than to make sure people were taken care of.”
Speaking to USA Today, Lori Bassani, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, said, “Paul is the first of our colleagues to lose his life as a result of this deadly virus. We are deeply saddened and are reminded that no precaution is too much to take during this horrible time.”
He added that the death has increased concern for airline staff working amid coronavirus outbreak.
“When this hits one of your own, it sheds a whole new light on the coronavirus. This does spread more fear among our ranks. This is a killer virus, unlike any we have experienced,” Bassani said.