Baltimore couple saves passenger on Southwest Airlines flight back home

The couple was flying home from Florida when a man on their flight became unconscious.

A Baltimore couple, both nurses, saved a passenger’s life on a Southwest Airlines flight while returning home from vacation.

According to The Washington Post, Emily Raines, 31, and her boyfriend, Daniel Shifflett, 28, were flying back from Fort Lauderdale on Southwest Flight 553 on May 1 when a flight attendant called for medical professionals onboard to assist. A man, whose name wasn’t released, was unconscious.

Raines is an acute care nurse at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, and Shifflett worked as a nurse for five years before starting a career in finance in 2021.


“A flight attendant was trying to do compressions, but the guy was on his chair,” Shifflett told The Washington Post. “You need to be on a flat surface. Otherwise, the compressions aren’t going to do anything.”

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The American Academy of Family Physicians estimates that 24 to 130 in-flight medical emergencies are estimated to occur per 1 million passengers. Cabin crews are trained to administer basic first aid when a passenger needs it. About 70% of in-flight emergencies are managed by cabin crew members without additional assistance.

The couple performed chest compressions and used medical equipment on board the flight to help the man. After about 15 minutes, the couple was able to hear the man’s heartbeat again. The flight made an emergency landing in Raleigh, N.C. The couple has kept in touch with the man’s wife.


“He’s at home now and he’s doing well,” Raines told The Washington Post.