air new zealand
This photo shows an Air New Zealand plane take off from the airport in Sydney, Aug. 23, 2017. PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images

Passengers aboard an Air New Zealand international flight were left grounded with a dead body for two hours, after a man died on a flight to Auckland Monday.

The Air New Zealand flight ANZ80 flight from Hong Kong was diverted to Cairns Airport in Queensland, Australia after a male passenger died due to an unknown medical emergency. Though the exact cause of death was unknown, reports suggested that the man was diabetic and had forgotten to bring his insulin.

A doctor on board the flight tried keeping the man alive, using a defibrillator till the flight landed in Cairns, however, he was not successful.

Drama continued after the flight landed. Firstly, the pilot was unable to connect the plane to the terminal via an aerobridge as there was no ground staff to assist in the removal of the body at the time the flight landed (2.30 am local time Monday).

A set of stairs were brought in for paramedics to enter the flight and remove the corpse. However stairs that arrived were too low.

“They found a small set of stairs, which they put up to the aircraft door. They were totally insufficient. The paramedics had to put their kit on top of those stairs, and stand on that and they were still only chest high to the door. They had to eventually climb into the aircraft to attend to that matter,” a source said, Cairns Post reported.

The body was removed almost two hours later and the flight continued it's journey to Auckland.

A Queensland Police spokeswoman told Yahoo7, “The plane was coming from Hong Kong and was headed to Auckland but had to be diverted to Cairns. Police responded to reports of a 66-year-old man found deceased on the aircraft. A report is now being prepared for the coroner.”

Confirming the medical emergency on board, an Air New Zealand spokeswoman said “For privacy reasons we're not able to provide further information about the passenger. The aircraft continued on to Auckland, and arrived around two hours behind schedule.”

She added that since the aircraft’s arrival into Cairns wasn’t scheduled, there was “limited ground support available, which meant normal aerobridge access was not available and a set of temporary stairs was used to access the aircraft. This is normal procedure when an aircraft is parked at a remote gate,” she said.

“The aircraft was on the ground for a total of two hours – this included emergency services, accessing the aircraft, ground staff completing refuelling, the pilots completing their pre-flight walk around and associated checks and the tug being connected to push the aircraft back to begin the taxi,” she added.