• The incident happened last Monday during a flight from Orlando to Los Angeles 
  • The male passenger allegedly claimed he was COVID-free during the pre-flight check
  • The flight was diverted to New Orleans, where the passenger succumbed to a heart attack 

A man who suffered a heart attack during a United Airlines flight from Orlando last Monday may have been suffering from COVID-19 and health officials are now trying to contact more than 200 passengers on the flight who may have been exposed to the coronavirus.

The man, whose identity has been withheld, suffered a heart attack after the plane took off, causing the flight, which was en route to Los Angeles, to make an emergency stop in New Orleans. The man was subsequently brought to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to NBC News.

A statement from United Airline said the passenger had filled out a COVID-19 pre-flight checklist before boarding the flight, claiming he did not have symptoms of the coronavirus nor had tested positive for it. "But, it's apparent that he wrongly acknowledged” this information, the airline noted.

Around the time the plane was re-routed, United Airlines was informed that the passenger had suffered cardiac arrest.

"Now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has contacted us directly, we are sharing requested information with the agency so they can work with local health officials to conduct outreach to any customer the CDC believes may be at risk for possible exposure or infection," the airline said.

One of the passengers on the flight, Shay Allen, reportedly saw the man board the plane with his head down, breathing heavily. "Twenty minutes after the take-off, he started shaking and sweating before losing consciousness," Allen said. "A nurse and an emergency medical technician immediately performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him."

Allen and other passengers overheard the man's wife saying he had been experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms. After the emergency landing, the flight was allowed to continue to Los Angeles.

Another passenger, Tony Aldapa, performed CPR on the man while the plane was en route to New Orleans. "We were doing chest compressions. From the point I got there till the fire department got on board, it was at least 45 minutes,” said Aldapa, according to The New York Post.

United Airlines on Wednesday announced a new program to collect contact information from passengers of all domestic and international flights to help the CDC perform contact tracing. Participation is voluntary.

According to a study on flying done by the Defense Department, the chances of getting the coronavirus while on an airline flight are low as most planes have what are known as high-efficiency particulate air filters, which can trap 99.97 percent of particles that are at least 0.3 microns in size, according to the Times.

When it first became known that social distancing could mitigate the chances of getting COVID-19, many airlines began leaving middle seats open. However, many have since allowed passengers to sit in any seats, according to the report.

TMZ has released a video of the man being administered CPR on the flight.