British passengers flying into South Florida learned of Queen Elizabeth II’s passing midair

Pilot alerted passengers of solemn news over intercom

British travelers arriving at Miami International Airport on Thursday reacted to the sudden and solemn news that Queen Elizabeth had passed away.

MIAMI – Thirty-one years after Queen Elizabeth II arrived at Miami International Airport for a whirlwind South Florida trip, British travelers coming through there Thursday reacted to the sudden and somber news of her death.

One group of friends from England was in South Florida for two weeks on vacation and learned as they were packing that they would be returning home to a nation in mourning.

“It means a lot to the British people, the majority of the British people,” said Julie Brill.

At Miami International Airport, many arriving and departing had a reaction to the news that Queen Elizabeth had passed away.

“We only found out, today really, that she’d been really sick and they called the family in,” said Gail Tower. “And I did say that she might not be here when we get back to England. And we were very sad.”

WATCH: WPLG coverage of Queen Elizabeth II’s 1991 visit to Miami

Others who were on an afternoon flight from Heathrow said the captain made the announcement about the death about an hour before arriving at MIA.

“The captain said they just had very sad news, that her majesty the queen has passed away,” recalled traveler Hannes Van Rensburg. “And there was silence in the plane.”


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About the Author:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.