ritha gopal

Family Searches for Answers After Woman Dies Following Flight From O’Hare to Qatar

Ritha Gopal, 67, a Milwaukee resident who had no chronic illnesses died following a flight from Chicago to Qatar

A family has launched a plea for answers after their loved one — a seemingly healthy 67-year-old mother — died following a flight from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to Qatar.

Ritha Gopal boarded a Qatar Airlines flight in Chicago on Feb. 21 and was ultimately headed to India, the Times of India reported. It is suspected a medical emergency occurred on the plane. Gopal was taken to a hospital where she later died.

Gopal's son, Vikram Gopal, and his sister traveled to Doha immediately after learning of their mother's death, but received unclear answers once at the airport.

"What happened to mom? Why did this all happen?" Vikram said. "Was it a heart attack? Can you tell us more? They kind of just shut us down."

Vikram told the Times of India he asked airline employees a number of times what caused her death, but was told the employees' only job was to help complete the documentation process.

"One told us she complained of chest pain and was rushed to the medical center in Doha and another said she collapsed in the flight and died," he said. "We don't really know what happened."

Vikram also told NBC 5 it has been nearly impossible to obtain information from the airline, adding the only response he received was an automated email.

Vikram is hoping to hear from anyone who was onboard his mother's flight - Qatar Airways Flight 726. The plane left terminal five at O'Hare at about 6:30 p.m. Feb. 21 and arrived in Doha at about 4:30 p.m. Feb. 22. Ritha Gopal was pronounced dead at around 11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 23, Vikram said.

Vikram encourages anyone who was on the flight to reach out to him on social media.

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