The distraught girlfriend of a New Zealand man sat next to his dead body for hours after he choked and died while eating an in-flight meal.
Robert Rippingale, 31, was flying from Singapore, where he worked, to his native New Zealand last week to celebrate his parents' 50th birthdays, the New Zealand Herald reported.
An hour-and-a-half into the Jetstar Airline flight, Rippingale choked on the beef and chicken dinner, the paper reported.
"One minute we were sitting next to each other kissing, holding hands and the next minute he was choking," said his girlfriend, Vanessa Preechakul,to the Herald.
"I thought he was laughing very hard; then I looked at his face and his eyes were rolling and he couldn't talk. His lips were turning purple," Preechakul said.
A doctor and two nurses who were on-board the flight rushed to Rippingale's aid and performed CPR but couldn't save him.
Crew members covered the body and removed Rippingale to a crew rest area where Preechakul asked to sit next to his body for the flight's remaining nine hours, the paper reported.
"I had to cope -- I had no choice," she said.
The man, whose family said had an "infectious smile", was laid to rest Saturday, on his mother's birthday.
A coroner's report was expected later this month.SOURCE