Southwest Airlines says a Dallas-bound flight returned to Seattle last weekend because a human heart was left onboard.
The Seattle Times reports that Flight 3606 arrived in Seattle from Sacramento. Someone forgot to unload the heart before the plane left for Dallas, and the captain announced over Idaho they were turning back. The paper also reported on Thursday that the heart was being sent to a Seattle area tissue processor to harvest the valves.
Deanna Santana of Sierra Donor Services in Sacramento told the Times that the valves will be used for a transplant, but there is no designated patient at this point.
Reportedly there was still time to process the heart valves despite the delay. Officials saidn that LifeNet would have received the heart with about 15 hours left for processing if it had been taken off the Southwest plan in Seattle. There was a three-hour delay from the time the plane left Seattle and headed for Dallas the time returned to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, so the processing time was reduced to 12 hours. There would have only been a seven-hour processing window if the plane had completed the the trip to Dallas and then immediately flown back to Seattle.