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Air India Criticized: Elderly Passenger Dies Without Wheelchair Help

Photo: www.airindia.in

In a heartbreaking incident at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, Air India is under intense scrutiny following the tragic death of an 80-year-old passenger, Babu Patel. The incident unfolded on February 12 when Air India flight AI-116 from New York arrived. Patel, accompanied by his 76-year-old spouse, Narmadaben Patel, had both pre-booked wheelchairs for assistance during their journey.

However, upon disembarkation, a distressing oversight occurred as only one wheelchair was available. This left Patel to walk alongside his wife, who was the sole beneficiary of the available wheelchair. The tragic turn of events unfolded during the journey from the aircraft to the terminal when Patel collapsed near the APHO office. Prompt response from airport medical personnel included administering CPR, and Patel was swiftly transported to Nanavati Hospital in an MIAL ambulance. Despite the medical efforts, Chief Medical Officer Ronaldo confirmed Patel's passing.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has pointed out violations of regulations outlined in CAR Section 3, Series 'M', Part I, specifically addressing the carriage of persons with disabilities or reduced mobility. According to Para 4.1.7 of the CAR, airlines are obligated to provide seamless assistance to passengers with specific needs, ensuring their safe travel from the departure terminal to the aircraft and from the aircraft to the arrival terminal exit.

In response to the lapse, Air India has received a 'Show Cause Notice' from the DGCA, questioning the airline's failure to adhere to these regulations. The notice mandates a response within seven days. Additionally, the DGCA has issued an advisory to all airlines, emphasizing the need to ensure an adequate supply of wheelchairs for passengers requiring assistance during both embarkation and disembarkation.

This incident not only raises questions about the implementation of passenger assistance protocols but also underscores the critical importance of adherence to regulations designed to safeguard passengers with specific needs during air travel.


 

Feb. 17, 2024 12:49 p.m. 2120

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