Israeli plane turns around to pick up girl with cancer

Inbar Chomsky holding her passport.

Israeli airline El Al made a rare move when it decided to turn around to pick up a cancer patient who was en route to a camp for sick kids in New York.

When 11-year-old cancer patient Inbar Chomsky boarded an El Al flight on Aug. 7 in Israel to attend a camp for sick kids in New York, she had to get off the plane.

Chomsky's passport was missing, and despite frantic efforts by her group to find it, the airline had to take off without her.

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"It wasn't enough that she has cancer, but now Inbar was facing another horrible disappointment in her life," wrote Rabbi Yaakov Pinsky, director of Chaiyanu, the Israeli branch of Chai Lifeline, which works with Camp Simcha in Glen Spey, N.Y., where Inbar was going for a retreat.

Luck was on her side, however.

Minutes after the plane had departed, another camper found Inbar's passport in another girl's backpack.

The pilots consulted with ground control and decided to return to the gate to pick her up.

"The flight attendants could not believe their eyes. ... They told me they had never seen such a thing," Elad Maimon, Chaiyanu's program coordinator, told Haaretz, an Israeli news site.

The airline acknowledged in a statement that it was a rare move on its part.

"El Al was honored and proud to help Inbar's dream to go to the camp in the USA come true," it said. "We wish Inbar full recovery and health."

The rest of the passengers shared the airline's sentiments.

"Inbar couldn't believe it. Her dream came true!" Pinsky wrote. "Those of us on the plane experienced something as well. Instead of the hostility that usually greets a plane delay, there were cheers and tears on that El Al plane, Flight 007."


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