Passengers on Southwest Airlines flight 3606 Sunday were shocked by a the reason why their plane, which was en route to Dallas, had to make a sudden turn and head back to its origin city of Seattle.
Apparently, someone had forgotten to unload a human heart, The Seattle Times reports.
The “life-critical cargo shipment” was supposed to be unloaded in Seattle and transported to an undisclosed local hospital, a representative from Southwest told HuffPost.
A hairpin turn had to be made upon the organ’s discovery so that it could be “delivered to its destination within the window of time allotted by our cargo customer,” Southwest said.
A passenger on the flight told the Times that his fellow passengers were initially stunned by the news. But the shock gave way to kindness, and many onboard were “happy to save a life.”
It is unclear, however, what the heart was intended for or whether someone’s life was on the line, the Times reports.
Once the plane landed in Seattle, the aircraft was taken out of service because of an unrelated “mechanical issue,” according to the company’s rep. But passengers were ultimately loaded onto another plane and flew on to Dallas without an additional hitch — though all the hiccups amounted to a five-hour delay.
Although it seems a bit odd for a vital organ to be transported on a commercial flight, the Times reports that Southwest does work with companies that ship organs for transplants — as well as transporting human remains — but it accounts for very little of its total revenue.