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Flying to D.C., Rahm Emanuel helps man who becomes ill on flight

WASHINGTON—While flying here Thursday for a fund-raiser, Mayor Rahm Emanuel sprang into action when the man sitting across the aisle from him on his flight from O’Hare started hyperventilating. Emanuel “jumped up from his seat, and helped him lie down on the floor,” an eyewitness, Aron Weisner, told me. Weisner, a D.C. resident, was sitting next to Emanuel—in an exit row in coach--on the United flight. The mayor got the attention of flight attendants and kneeled next to the man stretched out in the aisle, Weisner said. Another eyewitness, David Brown, told Sun-Times reporter Mitch Dudek, "Rahm ran up front and grabbed a blanket from an overhead compartment in first class and put it under the guy's head," said Brown, who was returning home to Alexandria, Va., a Washington suburb. The flight attendants made a announcement asking for medical help, and two people came forward. "He was the only passenger actively engaged, other than the doctors," Brown said. One of the doctors, who was sitting in first class, swapped seats with Rahm so he could be near the ill man. "People recognized him, but nobody said anything to him and he didn't say anything," said Brown. The man was able to walk off the plane in D.C., said Brown. "He made it a point to look over at Rahm and wave," Brown said. "Here's a guy not even on the job, but he's just always looking to lend a hand." Emanuel is on an East Coast swing to raise money for his warchest--the biggest in Illinois--and to stump for New Jersey Democratic Senate nominee Cory Booker. Emanuel was hosting a fund-raiser for himself here on Thursday. On Friday, Emanuel heads to Jersey City for a rally to bolster the Newark mayor. The New Jersey Senate election is Oct. 16 Thursday was not the first time Emanuel helped in an emergency. Last September, Emanuel was at the Big Shoulders Coffee at Ogden and Milwaukee. After hearing, what sounded like a crash, Emanuel “ran outside and saw there had been an accident,” according to the mayor’s communications director Sarah Hamilton. Emanuel stayed with the injured cyclist until an ambulance arrived.