In a tragic incident, a 49-year-old wheelchair-bound passenger with spinal cord injury was on his way to Mangaluru to see a doctor however, passed away at Mumbai airport on Tuesday morning after Air India did not allow him to board the flight citing it was ‘overbooked’ and checked him into the hotel overnight instead.
As reported by Mumbai Mirror, William Fernandes, a father of two, who worked as a nurse in Tel Aviv, had flown down especially to seek treatment for the injury as it had begun to impact his leg. William was accompanied by his friend Arun.
According to the statement of the latter, when he left the hotel, William didn’t complain of any discomfort, but when he went looking for a wheelchair for him in the Mumbai Airport, he had collapsed in the car by then. His family was waiting with an ambulance at the Mangalore airport to take him to a hospital.
Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) doctors checked William and found no pulse. A post-mortem carried out at the Cooper Hospital could not conclusively state the cause of the death and the hospital has sent some samples to a lab at JJ Hospital for histopathological tests.
The family on Tuesday tried to lodge a complaint of negligence against the airline, but the formalities could not be completed till late evening because of some documents they did not have. The body will be flown to Mangaluru on Wednesday.
William had met with an accident in Tel Aviv last year. The tests after the accident revealed that he had damaged his 6th, 7th and 8th vertebrae and would have to undergo surgery, so he decided to do it in Mangaluru.
The airline in their defense said that there was no intimation from the passenger about any medical emergency. However, the family of the deceased is in no mood to take this negligence lightly and will ask for the CCTV footage to see what happened on that day.