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Trainee Pilot Died After Being Bit By Mosquito On Forehead

Dominic Smithers

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Trainee Pilot Died After Being Bit By Mosquito On Forehead

Featured Image Credit: PA / Alamy

A trainee pilot died after she was bitten on the forehead by a mosquito, an inquest has heard.

Oriana Pepper, from Bury St Edmunds, was in Belgium last year when she suffered a bite just above her right eye.

The 21-year-old had already passed her theory exams on the easyJet course and had travelled to Europe for her instrument ratings.

An inquest into her death heard that she was taken to hospital on 7 July after her eye began to swell, and was given a course of antibiotics.

However, a couple of days later, Oriana collapsed and was once again rushed to hospital.

Sadly, just three days after that, on 12 July, she died.

Oriana Pepper died after she was bitten by a mosquito. Credit: Family handout
Oriana Pepper died after she was bitten by a mosquito. Credit: Family handout

An autopsy later found that the young pilot had died as a result of a septic emboli, which spread to her brain.

Speaking at the hearing, coroner Nigel Parsley said the young pilot's death was caused by 'a serious infection caused by an insect bite to the forehead'.

He said: "An infection has entered Oriana's skin following a bite by an insect.

"It's then gone into the carotid artery of the neck and led to septic emboli in her brain. I've never seen a case like this before.

"It's just one of those things that's just such an unfortunate tragedy for a young lady who clearly had a wonderful career and life ahead of her."

In a statement, Oriana's father said his daughter was a passionate pilot and 'loved nothing better than to go flying with her dad and her brother Oliver, also a trainee commercial pilot'.

He said: "She had met someone she loved, she was training to be a commercial pilot and was fulfilling her dreams."

The 21-year-old was training to be an easyJet pilot when she died. Credit: Alamy
The 21-year-old was training to be an easyJet pilot when she died. Credit: Alamy

Oriana's boyfriend James, said they had both suffered 'multiple' bites after arriving in Antwerp on 20 May, but had 'suffered no reaction', having been told that it was 'normal for the area and time of year'.

After going to hospital, James said doctors had advised them that the infection to her eye was most likely due to a mosquito bite.

However, on 9 July, Oriana collapsed and had to be admitted, and later died.

Her mum Louisa said the family had set up a 'small scholarship' in her name with the British Women Pilots' Association 'to encourage other women pilots'.

Topics: UK News

Dominic Smithers
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