Mosquito bite led to tragic death of 21-year-old pilot Oriana Pepper

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Oriana Pepper, 21, had passed her theory exams on the EasyJet programme and had gone to Belgium for her instrument ratings.

While in Antwerp, she was bitten by a mosquito on her forehead, near her right eye, and the wound appeared swollen and infected, the hearing in Ipswich was told.

She went to A&E on July 7 last year and was prescribed antibiotics.

Oriana, of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, was driven back to the hospital two days later by her boyfriend James Hall after she collapsed. She died three days later.

Suffolk’s senior coroner Nigel Parsley, recording a narrative conclusion, said Ms Pepper died “as a result of a serious infection caused by an insect bite to the forehead”.

Her medical cause of death was recorded as septic emboli in the brain, which are obstructions of blood vessels, with an infection by bacteria also contributing.

Addressing Oriana’s parents Tristan and Louisa, the coroner said: “I’ve never seen a case like this before.”

“It’s just one of those things that’s just such an unfortunate tragedy for a young lady who clearly had a wonderful career and life ahead of her.”

In a statement read during the inquest, Mr Pepper said that his daughter “loved nothing better than to go flying with her dad and her brother Oliver, who is also a trainee commercial pilot.”

He said his daughter described flying as “having an office in the sky among the clouds.”

He added: “She was fulfilling her dreams.”

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