SAN JOSE, CA A woman who either jumped or fell 2,000 feet to her death out of a California commuter airplane was reportedly despondent after recently moving to the United States from Europe, newspapers said on Saturday.
Officials identified the woman in Thursday's tragic incident as Elisabeth Otto, 31, a Dutch national who had recently moved to the San Francisco area with her husband to take a job at computer maker Hewlett-Packard Inc.
|Otto opened an emergency door, and after freeing herself of the grip of one passenger, either fell or jumped.|
"Her husband was concerned before she even took off that day, thought this sort of thing was a possibility. What a way to commit suicide, if that's what happened."
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has ruled out foul play in the incident, which occurred on a company commuter flight from the Sacramento area to San Jose on Thursday.
|"Are you being funny?" asked the dispatcher when told someone left the plane mid-flight.||
Fellow passengers on the twin-engine turbo prop plane told of a harrowing effort to save Otto, who apparently opened an airplane emergency door in mid-flight and, after wrenching free from the grip of one passenger, either fell or jumped.
Police initially were mystified as to why neither the five passengers on the plane nor its crew alerted authorities to the woman's disappearance until some 45 minute after the aircraft landed in San Jose on Thursday afternoon.
By Saturday, however, authorities said they believed the delay was due to shock and confusion among passengers aboard the aircraft, who because of the noise created by the open door were unable to communicate to the crew that Otto had been lost.
When the emergency call was made, a Hewlett-Packard aviation mechanic struggled to relay the news to a dumbfounded police operator.
"Are you being funny?" dispatcher Irene Donovan asked when told that Otto had left the aircraft in mid-air.
"No ma'am, No. I'm dead serious," mechanic Ron Van Meir said. "I don't want to say it was suicide because I can't assume that. But we did lose a passenger in flight."