Man on Aer Lingus flight died after drugs burst in his stomach

The Brazilian man who bit a passenger and later died on board an Aer Lingus flight to Dublin Sunday was carrying several small packages of drugs, officials say.

John Santos Gurgao, 24, from Brazil, swallowed 80 wrapped pellets of suspected cocaine that weighed 1.8lb, the Irish Times reported.  State pathologists in Ireland are still confirming the substance was coke but said that one of the pellets burst, which is why Santos Gurgao became ill on the flight from Lisbon. While being restrained, Santos Gurgao bit another passenger.

A doctor and two nurses, who were travelling on the flight, performed CPR on Santos Gurgao until the plane landed at Cork Airport. Airport paramedics also attended to him at the airport, but he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

The stash found in the man's stomach reportedly had a street value of $61,900, the BBC reports.

Irish, Portuguese and Brazilian officials are investigating Santos Gurjao movements and when he might have ingested the drugs prior to boarding flight EI 485 at Lisbon airport. A Portuguese woman in her 40s, also on the flight from Lisbon, was arrested on suspicion of drugs offences.

It is not clear if her arrest is linked to the man's death.

Irish authorities questioned the woman and found 1.8kg of a white powder. The powder was sent to the laboratory for analysis, where the woman’s claim that it was baking soda was confirmed.