German Politician Dies After Condor 767 Declares Emergency


German politician Karin Strenz is reported to have passed away on a flight between Varadero, Cuba and Frankfurt, Germany. The flight, operated by Condor with a Boeing 767, had diverted to Shannon, making an emergency landing in order to get her medical help. Despite the best efforts of medical personnel both on the plane and on the ground, she was declared dead at the University Hospital Limerick.

Condor 767
A Condor 767 had to make an emergency landing after a passenger fell ill. Photo: Condor

Am emergency landing

On Saturday, March 20th, a flight between Varadero, Cuba and Frankfurt, Germany, was forced to make an emergency landing at Shannon in Ireland after a passenger fell ill. Flight DE199 was operated by Condor, utilizing a Boeing 767-300ER registered D-ABUK for the trip.

The aircraft took off from Varadero at 19:40 CDT for the nine-hour trip to Germany. The flight is a regularly scheduled bi-weekly service, always operated by Condor’s 767 fleet. On this occasion, however, the trip was cut short due to an emergency onboard.

Condor 767-300ER
The 767 was flying from Cuba to Germany when the incident took place. Photo: Condor

Karin Strenz, aged 53, represents the northeastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in the Bundestag as part of the CDU party. She was onboard, reportedly with her husband, although it’s not known if it was a personal or work-related trip. During the flight, Strenz fell unconscious some hours into the journey.

Onboard, a doctor and an intensive care nurse attempted to stabilize her. The aircraft, flying just west of Ireland at the time, requested emergency clearance to land at the nearest airport, and touched down at Shannon at 07:30 GMT on Sunday, seven and a half hours after taking off.

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The aircraft was met by airport personnel, paramedics and gardaí, who rushed Ms Strenz to University Hospital Limerick. However, she was pronounced dead a short while later. In a statement to the Irish Examiner, a Garda spokesperson said,


“Gardaí and Emergency services were alerted to a medical emergency onboard a flight which landed at Shannon Airport, county Clare on 21 at approximately 7.30.

“A woman (50s) was taken to University Hospital Limerick from the aircraft. The woman was pronounced deceased a short time later. Arrangements have been made for a post-mortem to take place.”

Reports have suggested she could have suffered a cardiac incident, but a post-mortem is required to establish the cause of death. The flight remained on the ground at Shannon for approximately two and a half hours, before taking off again for Frankfurt. It landed in Germany safely at 12:45 CET.

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The long-haul workhorse 767

While this flight ended in tragedy, Condor has been relatively active in maintaining long-haul flights throughout the pandemic. Its 767s, in particular, have been regularly making long hops across to Central America in the west, as well as to destinations such as Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Seoul in the east.

Although most of these flights remain focused on cargo, many are also open for passengers with permission to travel. Currently, passengers traveling to Cuba are required to have a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of their trip before boarding their flight, and need to stay in a Cuban government-assigned hotel until another negative test result is received.

Condor cargo
Many of Condor’s 767s are working to move cargo around the world. Photo: Condor

D-ABUK is a 22-year-old Boeing 767, and is one of ten currently active for Condor. Just five remain parked at present. Within Condor’s fleet of 767s, six have undergone ‘preighter’ conversions, taking out the seats for additional cargo storage. Some are operating on behalf of DHL Express amid the current surge in cargo demand.

Although the 767s are old, with an average fleet age of 25.4 years, no replacement has yet been identified.