An 83-year-old passenger on Air Canada was seven hours into a flight from India to Canada in September when he began to feel symptoms of a heart attack: chest pains, back pains, vomiting, and incontinence. But, even though they were flying over Europe at that point, the airline refused to make an emergency landing, according to his daughter, Shanu Pande, via CBC. Instead, they flew for nine more hours.
"He was deteriorating in front of my eyes," Pande said about her father, Harish Pant. She told Go Public she begged the flight crew to land the plane so that her dad could get medical help. "He was at the mercy of the pilot and Air Canada people … They were inhumane and callous."
The man died shortly after landing in Canada.
Instead, the flight stayed on course for nine more hours, travelling over Ireland, across the Atlantic Ocean and Eastern Canada before touching ground in Montreal. Paramedics were waiting — but Pant died as they worked on him. …
In an email to Go Public, spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick wrote that Air Canada extends its deepest sympathies to Pant's family, but also "categorically rejects any assertions that it was responsible for the customer's death."
The airline's crew "properly followed the procedures" for dealing with onboard medical emergencies, wrote Fitzpatrick. When asked, he declined to explain the procedures.
Once the plane was over Ireland — the last possible stop before the Atlantic Ocean — Pande says she again urgently asked the crew to change course. Her father now had severe back ache and was throwing up.
She was told the plane would continue to Montreal because Pant's condition was deemed "not life-threatening."
Pande says she understands her father might still not have survived if he had gotten earlier medical attention on the ground, but says he was robbed of that chance.
Pande and her family are now suing Air Canada.