Monday 18 November 2019

Brazilian (24) who died in drug poisoning on Aer Lingus flight was refused entry to Ireland earlier this year

October 18, 2015: A garda technical team examines an Aer Lingus plane at Cork Airport on which a 24-year old man died. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
October 18, 2015: A garda technical team examines an Aer Lingus plane at Cork Airport on which a 24-year old man died. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision Newsdesk Newsdesk

A 24-year-old man who died from cocaine poisoning on board an Aer Lingus flight on Sunday was refused entry at Dublin airport earlier this year, it has been revealed.

John Kennedy Santos Gurjao had tried to enter Ireland last July to study English but was turned away by immigration police because he did not have enough money to support himself, the Irish Times reports.

It is understood that the Brazilian man later flew to Dublin again from Brazil, and was allowed to enter Ireland where he began studying English.

The Brazilian man died on board Aer Lingus flight EI 485, when a consignment of drugs burst in his stomach.

The 24-year-old had ingested approximately 0.8kg of suspected cocaine which were wrapped in 80 individually wrapped pellets.

It is estimated the drugs had a street value of approximately €56,000.

Last night, the man's niece Carolina Gurjao said her uncle was not a drug trafficker.

"I believe he never trafficked anything. We still don't know the cause of his death."

"I don't believe anything the media is saying about him."

"My family loves him very much, we are desparate to bring his body back to Brazil, where he's from in Calcoene," Ms Gurjao told the Irish Daily Star.

"He was a very happy person always, cheerful and playful."

"He is one of the best people in the world, joyful and always happy, very educated and intelligent. We loved him very much," she said.

In a tribute on Facebook, the Brazilian woman wrote: "I love you very much, no matter what people may seek to invent about you, you will last forever in my heart."

The Brazilian student suffered a violent seizure during the flight, shortly after it had left Lisbon bound for Dublin.

Aer Lingus cabin crew were forced to use handcuffs to restrain Mr Gurgao when he began to convulse due to violent seizures.

The decision was made to divert the flight to Cork airport shortly before 5.40pm.

He was declared dead despite attempts to resuscitate him.

Read More: 'Packages' found in body from plane death

Gardai are liaising with the Brazilian embassy regarding the repatriation of Mr Santos Gurjao’s body to his family in Boa Vista in northwestern Brazil.

Last night, gardai released without charge a 44-year-old woman who was on board the plane.

It is understood other passengers identified her as someone who was in the company Santos Gurgao before boarding the flight.

When gardai searched her luggage, they discovered 1.8kg of white substance.

Forensic analysis carried out at the state laboratory confirmed that the woman's claim that the powder was not an illegal substance, but was in fact baking powder.

Read More: White powder found in luggage of woman travelling with 'Brazilian drugs mule' was baking soda

Detectives carried out searches of her flat and business premises in Dublin where she provides services for Brazilian students who come to Ireland to learn English.

It is understood the woman confirmed that she had purchased the ticket for Mr Santos Gurjao’s flight.

Gardai will now prepare a file on the matter for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

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