Approximately €56,000 worth of drugs burst in man's stomach on Aer Lingus flight

The man took ill on an Aer Lingus flight from Lisbon to Dublin
The man took ill on an Aer Lingus flight from Lisbon to Dublin

Gardai have launched an investigation following the discovery of a large amount of drugs in the stomach of a man who died on an Aer Lingus flight into Dublin.

Investigators received the results of a post-mortem examination which confirmed the 24-year-old had ingested a large amount of a substance believed to be cocaine. 

A post-mortem by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster confirmed John Kennedy Santos Gurjao (24) had swallowed around 0.8kg of the drug. 

The drugs were wrapped in approximately 80 small pellets, and investigators believe just one of the wraps burst while he aboard the Lisbon-Dublin flight. 

The Assistant State Pathologist has taken a sample of the substance. If confirmed to be cocaine the estimated street value of the drugs would be €56,000. 

Mr Santos Gurjao became erratic on the flight and took ill before passing out after a short time. He never regained consciousness, authorities said. 

A number of medical personnel aboard the flight attended to the man and performed CPR until the plane made an emergency landing in Cork. However, frantic attempts to resuscitate him proved fruitless. 

Gardai are now investigating the circumstances surrounding the man's movements before he boarded the Aer Lingus plane in Portugal. 

They have contacted the Brazilian embassy who have been able to reach the young man's family in his home city of Boa Vista in northern Brazil. 

A woman who was suspected of travelling with Mr Gurjao was arrested by gardai at Cork Airport and detained after a large amount of while powder was found in her luggage. 

The powder was sent for analysis and was found to be baking soda. 

She is still being questioned about her relationship with Mr Gurjao and the drugs that were discovered in his stomach.

Corkman John Leonard was on the flight and described the scene after the man first appeared to suffer a seizure and then had to be restrained at the back of the plane before collapsing.

"Horrible. I would say a very violent end - to die that way in the back of an aeroplane, it's not right. It was not very pleasant at all," he said.

"After that it got worse I would say, his seizure seemed to get worse. He was actually on the ground shaking violently.

"The noise he was making was like something I have never heard before.

"It's not something you'd hear everyday. It was like deep anguish is the best way I could describe it, very, very troubled. Not screaming in a sense you know if you'd hurt yourself or something, just a very guttural, from deep within him."