Shanu Pande, a Canadian woman of Indian origin, has accused Air Canada of serious negligence, alleging that the airline’s actions or lack thereof contributed to the tragic death of her 83-year-old father during a long-haul flight from Delhi to Montreal.
The incident occurred in September during a journey from India to Canada, eagerly anticipated by Pande and her father, Harish Pant, who had recently obtained permanent residency in Canada and was relocating from India.
About seven hours into the flight, while the aircraft was flying over Europe, Pant started experiencing severe medical distress, leading to the tragic events.
According to information from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Pant’s health rapidly worsened during the flight. He experienced intense chest pain, severe back pain, and continuous vomiting. Additionally, he lost control of his bowels and was unable to stand. Pande was gripped with panic as she witnessed her father’s deteriorating condition.
In a desperate plea for urgent medical help, Pande approached the cabin crew of Air Canada, urging them to divert the flight and arrange an emergency landing to provide her father with the crucial medical assistance he needed.
Despite her emotional distress and frantic pleas, the aircraft continued its journey for an additional nine hours, flying over several locations such as Ireland, the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, and Eastern Canada before finally touching down in Montreal.
Upon landing, paramedics were on hand, but sadly, Pant’s condition deteriorated further, and he tragically passed away during the medical treatment provided at a Montreal hospital. Pant was officially declared dead at the Montreal hospital due to a “presumed infarction,” signifying the death of heart tissue.
The journey from Delhi to Montreal typically spans close to 17 hours, and during that time, Pande recounts the heart-wrenching experience, stating, “He was deteriorating in front of my eyes.”
Pande is haunted by the belief that her father’s life might have been saved if Air Canada had recognised the severity of his symptoms and acted promptly.
She described her state during the flight as deeply distressing and emotional, saying, “I was very hysterical. My mind was gone at this point.”
Two months after the devastating incident, Pande’s grief has transformed into anger and disbelief. She accused Air Canada of being negligent, stating, “They were callous and inhumane.”
In response to the accusations, Air Canada has denied any responsibility for the passenger’s death.
As reported by the CBC, the airline’s spokesperson, Peter Fitzpatrick, stated that the crew had “properly followed the procedures” for handling onboard medical emergencies. However, when asked for specific details about these procedures, Fitzpatrick declined to provide further information.
This tragic incident has garnered significant public attention and raised important questions about airlines’ protocols and responsiveness in handling in-flight medical emergencies. It has also sparked concerns among the public about the potential for similar critical situations, raising questions about the duty of care and decision-making processes in such emergencies.