California

Son tried to save his dad, a World War II vet, who died on Honor Flight to San Diego

World War II veteran Frank Manchel died while on an Honor Flight from Washington, D.C. to San Diego, California.
World War II veteran Frank Manchel died while on an Honor Flight from Washington, D.C. to San Diego, California. Screen grab of Honor Flight San Diego's Facebook post

World War II veteran Frank Manchel’s death on the Honor Flight was “almost instantaneous,” Honor Flight San Diego founder Dave Smith said, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

“He was laughing, chatting, having a good time — and then he collapsed,” Smith said, according to the newspaper.

Manchel’s son, a doctor, and another doctor went to help — and the two doctors gave him CPR for 12 minutes, the newspaper reported.

“Resuscitation measures were taken but he could not be revived,” Honor Flight San Diego posted to Facebook.

Honor Flight San Diego is a nonprofit that “takes heroes to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials at no cost to the veterans,” according to its Facebook page.

“It is with our most deepest sympathy that we send our condolences to the Frank Manchel family,” the organization wrote.

Manchel, 95, was a U.S. Army and World War II veteran, according to Honor Flight San Diego.

When Manchel could not be revived, his body was draped in an American flag, according to the nonprofit.

“It was our privilege to honor this true American hero during his final hours,” Honor Flight San Diego Chairman Julie Brightwell said, according to the Union-Tribune.

While the plane began to land, people on board started singing “God Bless America” in honor of Manchel, the Union-Tribune reported.

“Frank Manchel was so excited to go on Honor Flight. To be with both of his sons as well as his 93-year-old brother who met him in Washington, D.C. was so special,” his son, Bruce, said in the Facebook post. “My father’s passing was the ending to the most amazing weekend, surrounded by his newest best friends.

“ ... Frank passed quickly and peacefully and the compassion and respect that that was shown to our family will be treasured always,” he continued. “May he rest in peace as he is now with his other beloved son Jimmy.”

Honor Flight San Diego included a photo of Manchel on the American Airlines flight. The nonprofit says the photo was taken “just before he collapsed.”

American Airlines has since offered to fly Manchel and his family members to Michigan, where his body will be laid to rest, the post says.

“We thank all of you – Honor Flight San Diego, American Airlines, San Diego International airport, friends, and supporters for your concern and for allowing the weekend to be so special for all of us to share together,” Bruce Manchel wrote.

Six other people have died on Honor Flights, according to the Associated Press.

The Central Valley Honor Flight returned its 16th group from Washington, D.C. to a heroes' welcome at Fresno Yosemite International Airport on Wednesday evening with 66 veterans making the journey.

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