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Human heart left on board plane prompts flight to return to Seattle

Southwest said the "life-critical cargo shipment'' was for a hospital — but no Seattle-area hospitals said they were involved.

Southwest said 'life-critical cargo shipment' was for a hospital

Southwest Airlines introduced a tri-coloured heart logo in 2014. (Stephen M. Keller/Southwest)

A Dallas-bound flight returned to Seattle last weekend because a human heart was left on board, according to Southwest Airlines.

The Seattle Times reported that Flight 3606 arrived in Seattle from Sacramento, Calif. Someone forgot to unload the heart before the plane left for Dallas, and the captain announced over Idaho that the flight was turning back.

It's not clear what the heart was for. Southwest said the "life-critical cargo shipment'' was for a hospital and had been sent by a company specializing in shipments. Parts of a heart, such as valves, can be recovered when whole heart transplants aren't feasible.

However, no Seattle-area hospitals said they were involved. Organ-procurement organizations in Washington and California said they never use commercial flights for heart transplants.

The flight took off for Dallas after a five-hour delay.


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