An urgent appeal to assist with funeral expenses for a young girl who died on a Transatlantic flight diverted to Shannon on Christmas Eve has been made. The girl was traveling on Air Canada from Toronto to London's Heathrow Airport.

As the plane approached the Irish coast, the captain asked for immediate permission to land at Shannon because of a seriously ill passenger.

It is believed the ten-year-old, Madra Oo, suffered a cardiac arrest on the flight. An ambulance on the ground rushed her to Limerick University Hospital but she was pronounced dead soon after.

It turns out the family, of Nigerian origin and living in Canada, does not have the funds to properly carry out funeral arrangements for the young girl, including returning the body to Canada for burial. Madra suffered from sickle cell anemia, which was the major contributing cause of her death.

Madra and three of her sisters were traveling together for a once-in-a-lifetime reunion with their extended family in Nigeria. Their mother had flown on an earlier flight.

In the course of the flight she became very ill. Despite the best efforts of crew and medical personnel on board the young girl died on the plane after suffering cardiac arrest. Her remains are currently in Ireland.

An appeal has been launched to help cover the funeral costs. A GoFundMe account has already raised more than $20,000.

A statement from one of the sisters, Fedelia Oo, reads, "On Christmas Eve my three sisters and I left Toronto to spend Christmas with our extended family in Nigeria. Our mom flew ahead of us. Our beautiful youngest sister Madra (10) was with us.

"She took ill on the plane and despite the efforts of some kind medics on board they could not save her. We have been in Ireland since then, waiting to take our dear sister back to Canada.

"The Irish police and medical teams and Air Canada have been very helpful in this situation. Our family is a single parent family of four children so we do not have the funds to have a proper burial for our beloved Madra. Any help you can give will be deeply appreciated by our family during this time of devastation and grief."

"Our lovely Madra suffered with sickle cell anemia and any additional funds will be donated to the clinic she attended, who were so good to her always. Madra was the light of our lives, she brought joy and happiness to our household and we will never be the same without her. However we will keep her memory alive. Thank you."

Visit their GoFundMe page here.