US-China flight diverted due to woman's 'suicide attempt'

BEIJING (AFP) - A flight from Chicago bound for Beijing made an unscheduled landing in Alaska, United Airlines said on Thursday, after passengers said a woman had tried to hang herself in a toilet.

United Airlines said that UA851 on Wednesday was diverted and landed in Anchorage "because of a medical emergency" and the passenger involved was taken to a local hospital.

Other travellers were put up in hotels overnight and were due to travel on to the Chinese capital on Thursday, it added, declining to comment further.

The Beijing News quoted several passengers as saying on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo social messaging service that a woman had hanged herself in the on-board bathroom.

"You won't believe it, the UA851 flight we are on had to turn back and do an emergency landing in Alaska because someone tried to hang themselves in a toilet," said one passenger.

"It was a woman in her 40s and of Asian heritage," added another. "A bit later, I heard that the crew were looking for a doctor, and then the plane landed in Alaska to save her."