Local News

Man's body gets lost on flight leaving from Raleigh

Posted April 10

— A man's body was stranded on a cargo plane for two days after Delta Airlines mistakenly rerouted the flight that was supposed to carry it to Nashville from Raleigh for a funeral.

A four-year battle with leukemia claimed the life Bryant Lee Raburn, 31, a student from Middle Tennessee State University who recently moved to North Carolina to spend his final days with his family.

Raburn died Tuesday at his parents' home in Raleigh. "I performed CPR until emergency workers got there, but he ended up passing away," said David Rhodes, Raburn's stepfather.

Rhodes had made arrangements for the body to be flown from Raleigh to Nashville for the funeral, but the body didn't arrive as planned.

"Bryant was rerouted to Salt Lake City in a cargo hold, and we didn't know how to get him to Nashville," said Rhodes. According to Rhodes, hours spent on the phone with Delta got him nowhere. "I was stonewalled everywhere I called," he said.

Finally, Rhodes traveled to the Nashville airport himself to work with operating managers to find a new flight that would get his stepson's body to Tennessee in time for the funeral.

A tight transfer in Atlanta ended up being the only way to get the body to the funeral in time. Raburn's body arrived for the funeral just one hour before the service was supposed to start.


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  • Kelly Birdsall Apr 10, 2:36 p.m.
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  • New Holland Apr 10, 11:35 a.m.
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    i appreciate the airlines issues over the last 10-15 years, loosing money, fuel prices, mergers, but cramming more people into tight places and charging for everything and running a bare bones operations where there's no room for uncontrollable issues that always arise. No extra planes or crews to catch up when things go south for a weekend like this. You gotta wonder how many customers Delta lost this weekend.