On Wednesday, a Lebanese pilgrim on a flight back from Hajj in Mecca passed away mid-air after having suffered a sudden medical emergency, The Daily Star reported.
Identified as S.T.R., the 57-year-old woman was on a Middle East Airlines (MEA) flight en-route to Lebanon from Saudi Arabia when the incident took place. No doctor was on board the flight and so the woman was attended to by the plane's staff, who administered oxygen to her.
Though the deceased did initially gain consciousness, she died by the time the aircraft had landed.
After the plane arrived in Beirut, the airport's doctor Michel al-Khoury Hanna examined her and pronounced her dead.
Speaking to press, a source at MEA confirmed that the pilgrim died on the plane while it was flying over Syrian airspace but could not give a statement on the cause of death. The woman's family was informed of the tragic incident and her body was transferred to Al-Rassoul al-Aazam Hospital.
Two other Lebanese also died in Saudi Arabia during this year's Hajj season
Earlier this month, two other Lebanese nationals also died while in the kingdom to perform the Islamic pilgrimage. One of them passed away during sa'y - "a part of the pilgrimage where worshipers walk back and forth between as-Safa and al-Marwah hills." The second person died from a heart attack shortly after arriving in Saudi Arabia.
A source at MEA previously revealed that over 20,700 pilgrims left Beirut via Lebanon's flag carrier to make the pilgrimage to Mecca this year. The first group of pilgrims to leave the country were greeted by Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Lebanon Walid Al-Bukhari.
At the time, Al-Bukhari explained that out of 20,000 Hajj permits issued to people in Lebanon, 10,000 visas were allocated to Lebanese citizens. Also, 6,000 were granted to Syrian refugees and 1,500 were given to Palestinian refugees residing in the country.