Human heart left behind on Seattle-bound flight

A screenshot of the flight path taken by a human heart that was left on a Southwest Airlines flight after someone forgot to unload it in Seattle

Plane forced to turn around after human heart was discovered onboard

The human heart that was left on a Southwest Airlines flight after someone forgot to unload it in Seattle over the weekend was being sent to an area tissue processor to recover a valve.

The "life-critical cargo shipment" was supposed to be unloaded in Seattle and transported to an undisclosed local hospital, a representative from Southwest told HuffPost.

Southwest Airlines was tasked with flying the heart from Sacramento to Washington, where an unidentified hospital was awaiting the organ.

The heart, which had been on an earlier flight from Sacramento to Seattle, was not removed from the plane as it should have been.

It's believed the heart made it back within the allotted time.

The flight's passengers deplaned in Seattle for an unrelated mechanical issue. Another plane was brought in, and passengers took off again. But passengers were ultimately loaded onto another plane and flew on to Dallas without an additional hitch - though all the hiccups amounted to a five-hour delay.

It's not known whether or not someone's life was in danger because of the mishap or if the heart made it to its intended recipient, according to the report.

"We only use private flights", Katherine Pliska told the Times. Organ-procurement organizations in Washington and California said they never use commercial flights for heart transplants.

"We sincerely regret the inconvenience to the customers impacted by the delay", the spokesperson said.

Dr Gottschalk called the incident a "horrific story of gross negligence". "There's a time limit to get where it needs to go".

A Southwest Airlines jet sits on the runway at Philadelphia International Airport after it was forced to land after an engine failed, in Philadelphia, on April 17.

Latest News