Mom-of-two dies during flight home from vacation, friend speaks out

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By James Kay

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A mother of two has died while flying back from a dream vacation.

Stefanie Smith, a 41-year-old mother of two from Indiana, passed away suddenly when she was on her way home from the Dominican Republic.

Her sudden illness came as a surprise, as she appeared healthy during her time on vacation, which spanned five nights, per the Daily Mail.

According to her friend and travel companion, Maria Yannotti, Smith seemed to be enjoying herself during their stay at the Iberostar Grand Bavaro in Punta Cana.

Smith with her two children. Credit: GoFundMe

"The level of drinking never went beyond what I would call a nice little buzz," Yannotti said. "We pretty much had the same drinks. We enjoyed the strawberry mojitos made with Malibu rum."

The vacation included visits to the resort's restaurants, relaxing at the beach, and getting some sun by the pool.

On their last night, Smith, Yannotti, and their partners dined at El Galeon, a high-end surf and turf restaurant. They had a ribeye steak paired with a bottle of Moscato.

Yannotti emphasized the resort's cleanliness and security, stating: "It's five-star, very secure. I always felt very safe. The food was great. Everything was very clean, very upkept."

Smith reportedly visited the resort gym regularly and enjoyed runs along the beaches to maintain her fitness levels while abroad.

However, tragedy struck during the flight home. Yannotti recalled receiving a text from Smith just before departure, promising to share a funny story upon landing, as the two were taking separate flights going to different locations.

Shortly afterward, Smith's flight diverted to the Turks and Caicos after she began convulsing.

"We were sitting in Miami on our layover. The boyfriend called and said that he had something to tell us. He said Stefanie had died. She’s gone and he wasn’t sure what happened," Yannotti said.

"He said he looked at her and her head was tilted back into her seat. Her eyes were rolled into the back of her head and he thought she was making fun of him at first,” she continued. "Then she started convulsing and that’s when he called for help and they performed CPR and the pilot decided to make the call to land."

Despite efforts to save her, she was pronounced dead upon arrival at a local medical center.

Smith's brother, Chris Volz, described her as having "absolutely everything going for her," with no known pre-existing health conditions.

Smith passed away after convulsing on an airplane. Credit: GoFundMe

The family is awaiting an autopsy report to confirm how Smith passed away.

Yannotti continued: "We all say life is short, live every day like it's your last, that sort of thing. But you don't truly appreciate what that means until something happens to someone you love."

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to support Smith's children, with $89,565 raised out of a $100,000 target at the time of writing.

An update on the fundraiser reads: "The kindness and compassion shown during this extremely difficult time has been truly remarkable. Our hearts are filled with gratitude from the outpouring of support and generosity. Every single donation made will have a positive impact on the lives of Stefanie's children. We can't thank you enough for your presence and unwavering support."

Our thoughts are with Smith's loved ones during this difficult time.

Featured image credit: GoFundMe

Mom-of-two dies during flight home from vacation, friend speaks out

vt-author-image

By James Kay

Article saved!Article saved!

A mother of two has died while flying back from a dream vacation.

Stefanie Smith, a 41-year-old mother of two from Indiana, passed away suddenly when she was on her way home from the Dominican Republic.

Her sudden illness came as a surprise, as she appeared healthy during her time on vacation, which spanned five nights, per the Daily Mail.

According to her friend and travel companion, Maria Yannotti, Smith seemed to be enjoying herself during their stay at the Iberostar Grand Bavaro in Punta Cana.

Smith with her two children. Credit: GoFundMe

"The level of drinking never went beyond what I would call a nice little buzz," Yannotti said. "We pretty much had the same drinks. We enjoyed the strawberry mojitos made with Malibu rum."

The vacation included visits to the resort's restaurants, relaxing at the beach, and getting some sun by the pool.

On their last night, Smith, Yannotti, and their partners dined at El Galeon, a high-end surf and turf restaurant. They had a ribeye steak paired with a bottle of Moscato.

Yannotti emphasized the resort's cleanliness and security, stating: "It's five-star, very secure. I always felt very safe. The food was great. Everything was very clean, very upkept."

Smith reportedly visited the resort gym regularly and enjoyed runs along the beaches to maintain her fitness levels while abroad.

However, tragedy struck during the flight home. Yannotti recalled receiving a text from Smith just before departure, promising to share a funny story upon landing, as the two were taking separate flights going to different locations.

Shortly afterward, Smith's flight diverted to the Turks and Caicos after she began convulsing.

"We were sitting in Miami on our layover. The boyfriend called and said that he had something to tell us. He said Stefanie had died. She’s gone and he wasn’t sure what happened," Yannotti said.

"He said he looked at her and her head was tilted back into her seat. Her eyes were rolled into the back of her head and he thought she was making fun of him at first,” she continued. "Then she started convulsing and that’s when he called for help and they performed CPR and the pilot decided to make the call to land."

Despite efforts to save her, she was pronounced dead upon arrival at a local medical center.

Smith's brother, Chris Volz, described her as having "absolutely everything going for her," with no known pre-existing health conditions.

Smith passed away after convulsing on an airplane. Credit: GoFundMe

The family is awaiting an autopsy report to confirm how Smith passed away.

Yannotti continued: "We all say life is short, live every day like it's your last, that sort of thing. But you don't truly appreciate what that means until something happens to someone you love."

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to support Smith's children, with $89,565 raised out of a $100,000 target at the time of writing.

An update on the fundraiser reads: "The kindness and compassion shown during this extremely difficult time has been truly remarkable. Our hearts are filled with gratitude from the outpouring of support and generosity. Every single donation made will have a positive impact on the lives of Stefanie's children. We can't thank you enough for your presence and unwavering support."

Our thoughts are with Smith's loved ones during this difficult time.

Featured image credit: GoFundMe