Helen Rhodes, 46, died during a flight with her family from Hong Kong to the United Kingdom on Aug. 5
Helen Rhodes was found not breathing by her husband and two children on the Friday flight, with eight hours left to travel in the 12-and-a-half-hour trip.
The cause of death remains unknown.
A friend of the family, Jayne Jeje wrote on GoFundMe, “We are still in disbelief and shock about the sudden passing of our dearest friend Helen Rhodes, whose life has touched many people in Hong Kong and the UK.”
Jeje went on to say, “Helen was one of a kind, a gem. She was a midwife by profession and was always willing to lend a helping hand or advice to anyone who needed it. Helen loved to talk and made friends easily.”
After landing in Germany, Helen remained in Frankfurt while her husband, Simon, and two young children, Nathan and Emma had to go on to the UK without her.
“Although this was extremely traumatizing to the family, they all had time to say what they needed to say to her,” Jeje wrote on the GoFundMe page. “Needless to mention, they are devastated. This loss is unimaginable.”
Rhodes and her family lived in Hong Kong for 15 years before deciding it was time to head back to the U.K., where their extended family lives.
Jeje said, “She was the pulse of her community in Tung Chung, in Hong Kong. She couldn’t walk a few feet and not run into someone she knew by name.”
“Helen and her family wrapped up a life in Hong Kong of over 15 years to embark on a new chapter living back home in the UK. Helen was excited and nervous about the move, but looked forward to seeing her family back home, as she had not seen her family or aging parents since the pandemic began. Sadly, she never got to see them again.” Jeje wrote on the family’s Go Fund Me page.