Flying from New York Woman Gets Sick, Dies and Is Robbed in Brazil

    Maria Petrucia Ribeiro da Silva

    Maria Petrucia Ribeiro da Silva Brazilian-American Maria Petrúcia Ribeiro da Silva, 68, died soon after arriving in Rio de Janeiro from New York aboard TAM Airlines. Despite warnings about her sickness still in the air there was no help waiting for her when the plane landed. To boot someone seems to have taken advantage of the situation to steal US$ 8,000 she was carrying.

    According to TAM, the woman who had dual nationality and used to divide her time between Rio and New York, where her three American daughters live, started to feel ill when the aircraft was alredy getting to Rio de Janeiro.

    The company issued a note explaining what happened: "The commander activated TAM's land staff so that they would ask for Infraero's (the Brazilian airport authority) medical help, which was done soon after, at 5:05 am. The plane landed and, at 5:28, opened its doors.

    "The emergency assistance wasn't at the finger, and the  passenger disembarked accompanied by an airline company's official, who would take her to the emergency service at the airport. She fainted, however, when still in the finger (tube that links the aircraft's door to the airport's terminal also known as jet bridge). Infraero's medical service was activated a second time and it arrived at 5:53 am, taking the passenger in an ambulance."

    The Infraero blames the airline company for the delay in providing assistance. According to that agency they acted promptly when warned about the problem.

    New York airport attendant Sandra Williams, 37, the daughter of the deceased woman, flew immediately to Rio upon hearing the news of her mother's death. Her ordeal was just starting though. Red tape and corruption would make her trip even more memorable for all the bad reasons.

    Arriving at the Coroner's Office (IML) she found out that someone had stolen all credit cards along with US$ 8,000 in cash, that da Silva was carrying to pay taxes for a family house in Macaé, Rio de Janeiro. Williams told reporters that her mother suffered from high pressure but was taking medicines to deal with that condition.

    "I don't know what happened," said the daughter. "When my husband took her to the airport, she was feeling good and didn't complain of anything. Later, Tam called for my sister saying that she had died. My mother had US$ 8,000 but they tore her walled apart and took that money. All they left was US$ 10, the id-card and both passports."

    Da Silva took TAM's flight 8079, which left New York on Friday. She owned a beauty parlor in New York and used to spend a few months of the year in the town of Macaé, a little over 100 miles from Rio city. It was about 2 am when she first fell ill and flight attendants were made aware of the situation.

    The airplane's commander was told about the situation after the passenger had been given assistance. About three hours later, according to TAM's version, just before landing, the commander requested from the Rio tower control emergency assistance. When the Infraero's emergency finally arrived Maria Petrúcia was already dead.

    Williams complained that she hadn't been allowed to see her mother's  body after hours of waiting. The Coroner's Office vice-director, Sérgio Simonsen, made some conjectures about what might have caused the woman's death, but said that a definitive answer would take at least a month. 

    "Everything leads to believe that she was the victim of acute vein thrombosis, which can affect people who are motionless for a long time, as it happens to passengers of long flights. This is even known as traveler's syndrome: The person is sitting for a long time, a blood clot appears and it goes up the blood stream and it can be fatal."

    Sandra says that her mother didn't get the medical attention she needed.

    "She told she was not feeling good. They gave her water. She took the pressure medication. And, when she got out of the plane, she walked, left through the door, and then fainted. When she said she was sick,  they had to have a doctor waiting for her at the airport. They needed to be there and they weren't. There was a lack of communication. If a doctor were there maybe she would still be alive and I would not be here to take her body."

    Sandra is adamant in believing her mother was robbed after she died: "She had US$ 8,000 inside a little bag that she herself cut and sewed. They tore the little bag apart, they took her driver's license, all her credit cards… They left only the Brazilian passport, the American passport and the little trinkets she carried inside her purse. She had a little wallet with US$ 10. She used to come here to pay the house taxes ."

    The daughter also complained about the Brazilian bureaucracy, which prevented her from seeing the mother's body:

    "I have asked over 100 thousand times to see her body. The first thing I said when I got out the plane was: I wish to see my mother's body. They then took me here, took me there. I told them: I want her things. And they told me: no, we need to do this first. We went there, did all the papers.

    "Now, they took me to see my mother's belongings. When I open the suitcases, everything is missing from her purse: the money, the credit cards. They opened the wallet she had, they took everything out, there was no document inside the wallet."

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    • Show Comments (8)

    • Leo Bonneville

      STUPID GRINGOS…
      Yeah, Im sure there is no crimes in your countries..IDIOTS!

      There are 2 parties who should be responsible for this:

      TAM and Rio de Janeiro’s Int Airport…

      It is unacceptable for there not to be any medical assistance when the woman got out of the airplane, it is also unacceptable for her money and items to be missing, Obviously the piece’s of shit that work at the airport have no ethics or morals…

      YOU KNOW.. I’ve been very careful in judging some of the working class of Brazil, but its things like this that embarrasses all Brazilians, for a woman to have passed away and these people that are supposed to help and protect passengers act in the most despicable way.

      PEOPLE, COMPANIES, WHOMEVER.. SPECIALLY IN BRAZIL NEED TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR ALL OF THEIR ACTIONS, IF THIS MEANS SOME PEOPLE NEED TO GET FIRED, AT ALL LEVELS.. THEN SO BE IT..

      FUCK THE CURRENT SYSTEM, SET UP TO ASSIST ROBBERS AND THIEVES!

      Leo Bonneville

    • Forrest Allen Brown

      hER NAME WAS Maria PetrÀƒºcia Ribeiro da Silva
      WHY DID THE PLANE NOT LAND AT A AIRPORT CLOSER TO WHERE SHE FELL ILL

      the blame is on the polit on that point .
      why did the ambulance take almost an hour to pick her up , the drivers fault
      why did not TAM get a policeman or car to drive her to the hospital TAms fault

      and who let her lulage be stolen and her hand bag femoved from her with out a guard again TAMS AND the hospitals fault.

      and why not let a family attend to her mothers bodie as soon as she got there .

      sounds like a cover up there police fedral .

      where will she be layed to rest brazil or the US

      goes to show not even the dead are safe in brazil

      may god bless you and keep you from harm ever again Maria PetrÀƒºcia Ribeiro da Silva

    • mickinrio

      Corruption and denying reality!!
      Corruption in Brazil is a way of life and stealing from a dead woman is no big deal.From the politicians to the glue sniffer lying in the gutter and all in between – turning a blind eye or denying the problem or blaming it all on the “gringoes” solves nothing.

    • Lloyd Cata

      Doing The Right Thing
      [b]Leo Bonneville,
      There are 2 parties who should be responsible for this:
      TAM and Rio de Janeiro’s Int Airport…
      [/b]

      I couldn’t agree more. However, it is a moment for the society to look closely at itself. For this woman to be treated this way, a daughter of the Brazilian Republic, is just beyond words. I pray God gives her children peace in their new homeland.

    • UNKOWN

      THIS IS NOT ABOUT OLYMPICS OR TOURISTS
      THIS WAS A FAMILY MEMBER OF MINES SHES A BRAZILIAN NATIVE ALWAYS WENT BACK AND FORTH TO NEW YORK GOD BLESS HER SOUL. WHO EVER COMMITTED THIS CRIME BEST TO BELIEVE ME YOU’LL BE FOUND I DONT CARE HOW BIG OR WHAT PROBLEMS THERE IS OVER THERE IN RIO BRAZIL BUT TRUST ME YOU’LL BE FOUND WHO EVER ROBBED HER. Maria PetrÀƒºcia Ribeiro da Silva R.I.P. WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN

    • GRINGO

      Well, I’m not surprised by this at all. As much as I like Brazil, there is a thief and a bureaucratic nightmare waiting for you around every corner. There will be a lot of finger pointing here, no one will accept any responsibility and the poor family will be given the run around, and probably robbed by the lawyers they hire. Brazil is a great country when everything goes well, but as soon as you encounter even the smallest of problems, the country becomes a nightmare. This one is epic.

    • mickinrio

      Her we go Olympics!
      Exactly Johnny, God save those tourists who dream of the land of Samba Football and Fun…

    • Johnny corleone

      You see, what else is new? Welcome to the olympic games. There will be a new contenction then; it will be about who gets robbed, mugged sooner after arrival!

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