8-Year Old Refugee From Congo Dies Shortly After Landing in Chicago

An 8-year-old boy arriving from Congo died shortly after landing in Chicago's O'Hare Airport, officials said Wednesday.

The boy, along with his father and several siblings, arrived in Chicago on Tuesday on a flight that came through Dubai, said Customs Border Patrol spokesman Ralph Piccirrilli. The family were refugees from the Republic of Congo, officials said.

After clearing customs and processing, the boy and his family were heading towards another terminal when a Customs and Border Patrol officer noticed the boy appeared "lethargic and unresponsive," said Piccirrilli.

"He seemed out of it to the officer," he said.

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Paramedics were immediately called and the boy was transported to an area hospital. He later passed away.

While it is still not clear if the boy had any in-flight medical problems, health emergencies on flights are not uncommon, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

In a two-year span, ending in 2010, there were 11,920 in-flight medical emergencies. Thirty-six of those cases resulted in post-flight deaths.

The cause of the boy's death is currently under investigation by the medical examiner's office.