NHRC seeks report from DGCA on death of 80-yr old man at Mumbai Airport

Mumbai, Feb 20 (IANS): The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought a report from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on the death of an 80-year-old Air India (AI) passenger who was not provided a wheelchair after landing at Mumbai Airport from New York, on February 12.

Taking suo motu cognizance of the incident, the NHRC said that if the media reports of the incident were true, they “raise a serious issue of violation of human rights” of the deceased passenger.

The passenger, along with his elderly wife, had made a prior request for wheelchairs with Air India, but only one was provided to the couple. While he walked around 1.5 kms inside the terminal to the immigration counters, his wife was in the sole wheelchair provided.

Midway, the US-passport holder collapsed and was rushed to Nanavati Hospital in Vile Parle west, where he was declared dead.

Subsequently, the AI had said that there was a heavy demand for wheelchairs that day and they had requested the passenger to wait till they could arrange a wheelchair for him.

“But he opted to walk along with his spouse. As advised by the airport doctor, the passenger was immediately rushed to the hospital where he was declared to have passed away,” said the AI statement later.

The NHRC has issued a notice to DGCA seeking its detailed report in the matter within four weeks, including the status of compensation, if any, was provided to the next of kin of the deceased passenger, and the steps/measures taken/proposed to ensure that such incidents do not recur.

The NHRC observed that there has been a significant increase in the number of air passengers and also the airfares, “but the standard of facilities doesn’t seem to have improved proportionately, resulting in several complaints reported,” in the media and social media.

On that particular AI flight on February 12, there were 32 wheelchair requests, but only 15 were available with the ground staff at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, forcing the man to walk alongside his wife in the wheelchair, that led to the tragedy.



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Title: NHRC seeks report from DGCA on death of 80-yr old man at Mumbai Airport

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