Dead Man Unnoticed For 17 Hours In Cathay Pacific Lounge

Ming Kou Chan sadly passed away in the bathroom of a Cathay Pacific lounge at San Francisco last year. Details of the autopsy report released this week show that he was dead for over 17 hours before anyone discovered him. We ask why, and who was responsible for leaving him for so long.

An East Asian historian sadly passed away in the bathroom of a Cathay Pacific lounge at San Francisco. The incident, which happened last October, was sad but not entirely out of the ordinary. After all, you don’t get to choose when or where you go.

What is notable, however, is that Ming Kou Chan was deceased in the bathroom for over 17 hours before someone found him, according to an autopsy report released this week.

What happened?

Passenger Ming Kou Chan, 69, was due to travel from San Francisco International Airport to Hong Kong on October 29th, 2018. He was captured on security cameras walking into the Cathay Pacific lounge and entering the bathrooms around 1am.

The man was seen entering the Cathay lounge at 1am. Photo: Sarah Lou via Flickr

The alarm was raised by a student of Chan’s who was waiting to meet him in Hong Kong. It wasn’t until around 6:20pm that day, 17 hours and 20 minutes later, that his body was discovered. Paramedics attempted CPR, but to no avail.

The autopsy report shows that Chan had a heart attack caused by clogged arteries, also known as coronary atherosclerosis. However, the nature of his passing is somewhat irrelevant, as the main question here is why nobody found him for over 17 hours.

Who was responsible for this?

You’d think that if a passenger checks in and passes through security but doesn’t board the flight, someone would raise the alarm. According to Malcolm Yeung of the airport commission, speaking to CBS Local,

“From the airport’s perspective–we typically to leave it up to the airlines to manage the situation whenever the passengers don’t actually board the flight,”

With tight schedules to maintain, clearly the flight crew wouldn’t have had time to search the airport for the missing passenger. It’s likely that his reservation was cancelled, and bags removed from the aircraft in order that it could take off on time.

In terms of the lounge, however, you would hope someone would come to clean the bathroom more frequently than once a day.

The Cathay lounge at SFO. Photo: Oneworld

According to MSN News, an SFO spokesperson, Doug Yakel, said that the lounge was not under their control. He said that it is directly administered by Cathay Pacific themselves, and that the airport is not responsible for that area of the terminal.

The lounge at SFO is modelled on Cathay’s own award winning lounges in Hong Kong. It’s on level four of the International Terminal building at the airport. You can view a tour of the lounge in the clip below:

While we certainly hope that Cathay’s cleaning team enter the bathrooms more frequently than one per day, it has not been specified exactly where in the bathroom the body was found. Potentially a cleaning team arrived but, on finding a cubicle locked, decided to leave that stall until later.

We certainly hope this was the case, but if you have any experience with Cathay’s first class lounge at SFO, and particularly the cleanliness of the bathrooms, do let us know in the comments!