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8-year-old girl dies after midflight medical emergency, coroner says

PEORIA COUNTY, Ill. — An 8-year-old Missouri girl traveling to Chicago for a vacation with her family died Thursday after suffering a medical emergency during a flight, according to the Peoria County Coroner’s Office.

Sydney Weston of Carl Junction “suddenly became ill and then unresponsive in flight,” the coroner’s office said in a statement posted on social media. Officials said her family “began rapidly rendering aid,” but by the time her flight landed at the Peoria International Airport in Illinois, “she was not breathing and had no pulse.”

“Little Weston was emergently transported to OSF Healthcare Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, where, despite resuscitative efforts, she was pronounced deceased” at 8:05 a.m. on Thursday, according to the coroner’s office.

It was not immediately clear what caused her death. Officials said they planned to conduct an autopsy on Friday.

Sydney and her family were on a flight from Joplin, Missouri, according to the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office. Officials identified it as United Express flight 5121 on a CRJ-200 regional passenger jet and said that it left Missouri at 6 a.m., WGN-TV reported.

“Please keep the child’s family and everyone who was involved in this traumatic experience in your thoughts and prayers,” Sheriff Chris Watkins said in a social media post.

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