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Air Corpse One: When Airline Passengers Die On Board

It's a rare but hardly new question: what should airline staff do when a passenger dies mid-flight? Legend has it that British Airways used to use the 'vodka tonic' approach.

What to do with the flying dead?
What to do with the flying dead?
Michael Hegenauer

BERLIN — When a passenger dies on a flight, what do flight attendants do with the body?

A British flight personnel trainer recently acknowledged to the Telegraph that the subject was still a "grey zone."

But she did have some concrete advice for fledgling crew members: The best course of action is to place a blanket over the body, leaving the face uncovered, until the plane arrives at its destination. She said there have been cases when a crew member was delegated to sit next to the body until the flight ended.

If there's room in first class, the corpse should be brought discreetly by wheelchair to the available seat and installed there. Passengers in the immediate vicinity should be informed. In 2006, on British Airways flight BA 213 to Boston, a deceased economy class passenger rode first class for the last three hours of the flight.

This hasn't always been the recommended procedure. British Airways used to leave deceased passengers in their seats, making them look as if they were still alive and enjoying the flight. A sleep mask was placed over their eyes, a newspaper was opened in front of them, and they were served a vodka tonic.

Die Welt asked Lufthansa how their employees dealt with this delicate issue. "There is no established procedure, as we know from experience that the situations vary greatly," a spokesperson for the airline said. "The best thing is if the person is traveling with his or her family, and can be left with them."

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Society

Jehovah's Witnesses Translate The Bible In Indigenous Language — Is This Colonialism?

The Jehovah's Witnesses in Chile have launched a Bible version translated into the native Mapudungun language, evidently indifferent to the concerns of a nation striving to save its identity from the Western cultural juggernaut.

A Mapuche family awaits for Chilean President Gabriel Boric to arrive at the traditional Te Deum in the Cathedral of Santiago, on Chile's Independence Day.

Claudia Andrade

NEUQUÉN — The Bible can now be read in Mapuzugun, the language of the Mapuche, an ancestral nation living across Chile and Argentina. It took the Chilean branch of the Jehovah's Witnesses, a latter-day Protestant church often associated with door-to-door proselytizing and cold calling, three years to translate it into "21st-century Mapuzugun".

The church's Mapuche members in Chile welcomed the book when it was launched in Santiago last June, but some of their brethren see it rather as a cultural imposition. The Mapuche were historically a fighting nation, and fiercely resisted both the Spanish conquerors and subsequent waves of European settlers. They are still fighting for land rights in Chile.

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