24 May 2008

Death caused by jet lag??

"One day in 1971, a woman called Sarah Krasnoff made off with her 14-year-old grandson, who was caught up in an unseemly custody dispute, and took him into the sky. In a plane, she knew, they were subject to no laws, and if they never stopped moving, the law could never catch up with them. They flew from New York to Amsterdam. When they arrived, they turned around and flew from Amsterdam to New York. Then they flew from New York to Amsterdam again, and from Amsterdam to New York, again and again and again, month after month.

They took about 160 flights in all, one after the other, according to the stage piece "Jet Lag." They saw 22 movies an average of seven times each. They ate lunch again and again and turned their watches six hours forward, then six hours back. The whole fugitive enterprise ended when Krasnoff, 74, finally collapsed and died, the victim, doctors could only suppose, of terminal jet lag."

Found at Kottke. Text from the New York Times. It still sounded apocryphal to me, until I found a link at Vanderbilt's Television News Archive re the original airing of the story on the CBS Evening News. The attribution of death to "terminal jet lag" is of course tongue-in-cheek. One very real possibility is massive pulmonary embolus, to which air travel passengers are prone because of immobility and an element of volume depletion.

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