The Grapevine

What Is Necrosis? Man Dies After Emergency Plane Landing Due To Stench

After an unbearable stench led to a passenger being removed from a flight in Portugal in May, it was reported the man died from a tissue disease June 25.

Andrey Suchilin, a 58-year-old rock musician from Russia, was initially told he had "a simple beach infection," and was provided with antibiotics. While he continued traveling, a Transavia flight was forced to make an emergency landing due to an extreme stench from Suchilin who was on board.

"We can confirm that on May 29th a stopover of flight HV5666 (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria - Amsterdam) has taken place on Faro (Portugal). This was a precautionary measure in relation to a passenger for medical reasons," confirmed a Transavia spokesperson.

Passengers, many of whom experienced vomiting and fainting, reported it to be an "unbearable" smell. "It was like he hadn't washed himself for several weeks," said one passenger named Piet van Haut.

In reality, the smell was not caused by poor hygiene but was the result of necrosis. The tissue disease can lead to the premature death of cells in living tissue due to low levels of oxygen. This is different from the natural death of tissue over time, which is known as necrobiosis.

Some of the causes of necrosis include infections, improper treatment of a wound, frostbite, deep vein thrombosis, and potentially even cancer.

Treatment typically starts with identifying (and if needed, stopping it) the cause of the necrosis. After this, the dead tissue is removed in a manner most suited to the individual patient.

In severe cases, a person may have to undergo amputation of the limbs or organs affected by tissue death. Antibiotics, immunosuppressive therapy, maggot therapy are some of the non-surgical methods considered in certain cases.

In a Facebook post published May 30, Suchilin described struggles with insurance company Ingosstrakh over the expiration of his health insurance.

He and his wife were in a country without "money, consulate support and medical care," he wrote. This led to a delay in seeking treatment, which only took place after close friends raised money to help pay for the bills.

The musician saw his condition worsen at the hospital after he was admitted into the intensive care unit. Multiple surgeries were performed to stop the infection but the necrosis spread to critical parts of the body such as the kidneys, heart, and lungs. Eventually, he was in a medical coma before passing away from organ failure. 

Transavia issued a statement expressing sympathy for the family and wishing them strength. Regarding exposure, the Dutch airline emphasized "there has been no risk of infection," to passengers and staff members who were on board the flight.