x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Family sues Emirates over woman's death

Family takes Emirates, saying cabin crew did not do enough to save ailing woman who collapsed on flight and was pronounced dead the next day in hospital.

DUBAI // The lawyer for the family of a woman who was believed to have had a heart attack on an Emirates flight and later died, says the airline failed to follow safety procedures.

Carol Wilson, 70, had a medical emergency while she was in the lavatory during a flight from Dubai to her home in Houston, Texas, in April last year.

She was pronounced dead the following day at a hospital in the city.

Her family has filed a lawsuit in a Texas court claiming that Emirates staff onboard the flight did nothing to help her.

"The flight attendant found Mrs Wilson non-responsive in the bathroom as they entered final descent into Houston (Intercontinental Airport)," said Kerry Guidry, who is representing Ms Wilson's family.

"She was suffering cardiac arrest. There are policies and procedures in place to handle a medical emergency, both internally by Emirates and international standards, that the Emirates employees failed to follow," he said.

The claim against the Dubai-based carrier is being made under the Montreal Convention, an international agreement that governs injury and death on international flights, said Mr Guidry, a Texas attorney.

"Instead of following those policies and procedures, the flight attendants simply laid Ms Wilson on the ground with an oxygen mask while her son asked for them to help her," he said.

The lawsuit says flight attendants "contributed to and were a link in the chain to Ms Wilson's death".

Mr Guidry said his clients, Mrs Wilson's three grown children, had not made a demand for a specific monetary compensation.

"We will let the jury decide what is a fair and reasonable amount to compensate Ms Wilson's children for her death."

The trial date is set for September 19 in United States District Court, Southern District, Houston Division.

Emirates said the company does not comment on ongoing litigation.

nhanif@thenational.ae