American Airlines has confirmed one of their flight attendants, Paul Frishkorn, died from COVID-19, last week. Frishkorn was a flight attendant based out of Philadelphia.
American Airlines released this statement on Frishkorn's death:
"Earlier this week, we lost a respected, longtime member of the American Airlines family, who tested positive for COVID-19. Paul Frishkorn joined us as a flight attendant in 1997 and was based in Philadelphia. Over the years he built a reputation as a consummate professional who was honored as one of American's Flight Service Champions twice for his excellent service to our customers. He was also a knowledgeable benefits consultant and servant leader for his colleagues through his work with the Association of Flight Attendants while at US Airways and later, with the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.
Our hearts go out to Paul's loved ones, many of whom work for American. We are working directly with them to ensure they are cared for during this extraordinarily difficult time. He will be missed by the customers he cared for and everyone at American who worked with him."
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In a voicemail greeting on his phone, 65-year-old Frishkorn said he can't answer because he is "very ill" and awaiting results of a test for COVID-19.
Action News spoke with his personal trainer of 25 years, Jim Hart, who said he made the call to authorities when Frishkorn wasn't answering his phone.
"I called 9-1-1, ultimately the police went out there, and I went out there on my own, and they told me he passed away," said Hart.
Frishkorn was a former national music coordinator and announcer for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, according to the U.S. Figure Skating Adult Skating Committee.
The committee said Frishkorn was a volunteer announcer at the Eastern Adult Sectionals, from March 6-8 in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, at the Philadelphia Figure Skating Club and Humane Society, where it has been reported that at least two other attendees of that event were also tested positive for the virus.
U.S. Figure Skating has asked anyone who attended this event to be vigilant in monitoring any symptoms related to COVID-19 and follow CDC recommendations, including monitoring symptoms of a fever over 100 degrees, a cough or sore throat.
Many in the skating community said Frishkorn's voice will be missed at future competitions.
"He just had a bubbly, infectious personality, that came through the mic, and you knew it was him," said Mark Ladwig, olympian and USOPC/USFS athlete advisory committee chair, "he was just warm and inviting."
Frishkorn's skating coach from the late 90s/early 2000s, Cheryl Demkowski-Snyder, shared this statement with Action News:
"Our lesson times gradually slowed as his duties as a flight attendant increased. He would always make sure I knew when he was able to find some practice time in between his flights- he made sure to travel with his skates! Eventually, because of his immense love of the sport, he transitioned in to the technical side with appointments as a National Music Technician and a Sectional Announcer with United States Figure Skating. He became a huge asset to the skating community while serving in these roles. Because of his infectious personality, he befriended so many athletes and officials along the way. Paul's passing is a huge loss to the skating community. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, his skating family, and all those in the airline industry who knew and loved him."
American Airlines is encouraging anyone who may feel sick to stay home and seek medical advice. To assist, the company is extending a two-week paid sick policy for all team members who have a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 or who have been directed to quarantine by a medical professional.
American also said Frishkorn had other health issues that made him susceptible to complications.
Friends, figure skating community remember Philadelphia flight attendant who died from COVID-19