Horror as children forced to sit next to their dead mum on long-haul flight

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“One of a kind” mum and midwife Helen Rhodes was travelling with her family as part of a “new adventure”. The family were returning home to the UK after spending 15 years living in Hong Kong. Tragically, a few hours into the long-haul flight, Helen was found unresponsive and couldn’t be resuscitated after passing away in her sleep.

For the remaining eight hours of the flight, Helen’s broken children sat next to their mum in a “breathless sleep” until they landed in Frankfurt, a friend of the family wrote. Though it was an “extremely traumatising” experience, the “devastated” family had the opportunity to say their last goodbyes while sitting beside her. 

When they arrived Helen’s body stayed in the German city while her husband and children continued on to the UK, reports the Mirror. 

Jayne Jeje, who set up a fundraiser to help the grieving family, explained how Helen was feeling before her final flight. She said: “Helen and her family wrapped up a life in Hong Kong of over 15 years to embark on a new chapter living back home in the UK.

“Helen was excited and nervous about the move, but looked forward to seeing her family back home, as she had not seen her family or ageing parents since the pandemic began. Sadly, she never got to see them again.

“Helen was one of a kind, a gem. She was a midwife by profession, and was always willing to lend a helping hand or advice to anyone who needed it. Helen loved to talk and made friends easily.”

While living in Hong Kong’s Tung Chung area, Helen became the “pulse of her community” and would be stopped on the street by all the people she knew. She became an invaluable member of a motherhood group in the district and would be their point of reference for anything medical-related, Jayne said.

In a tribute towards the end of the post, Jayne added: “This fundraiser is to honour this lovely woman who was loved by so many, a dear friend who touched so many people. We can only hope she knew how much she meant to us, and how her void can never be filled. How this loss is so painful and surreal.

“The grief we feel is paralysing. Yet, we feel lucky to have known her.”

Helen, who ran her own business making bespoke bows and accessories, was a “devoted wife and mother” and “the glue that held her family together”, Jayne said earlier.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with unexpected expenses and to “honour our dear friend Helen”.

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