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No doc around: passengers

- Airport official denies charges, says even GMCH was ready
The aircraft at LGBI airport at Borjhar in Guwahati on Sunday after the emergency landing. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, June 10: A section of passengers aboard the Silchar-Guwahati Air India flight ATR-9760 claimed that there was no doctor to attend to them when they finally alighted at the LGBI Airport here after their harrowing experience this morning.

The passengers, who had a nerve-racking experience during the flight as the aircraft had to make an emergency landing after being airborne for around two hours, criticised the airport authorities for not being able to keep a doctor handy at the airport.

“Two women fainted while an old man had delirious fits. There were ambulances stationed at the airport but there was no doctor and many passengers were complaining about it,” said Ratu Hazarika, one of the passengers.

Among the two women passengers who fainted in panic was a professor from Assam University, Silchar, Meghali Goswami.

“The condition of some passengers was not good but I am not sure whether there was any doctor at the airport since I immediately rushed out,” said P. Das, another passenger.

However, another section said there was no medical emergency.

Payal Jain Agarwal, one of the passengers, said, “There was tension and panic but no emergency situation as such.”

Though airport director Suresh Chandra Hota could not be contacted for his comments since he is on leave, another Airport Authority of India (AAI) official said a doctor was available at the airport. “We had a doctor and even the rescue and fire brigade personnel were trained to provide first-aid. Moreover, we always have ambulances on stand-by to shift passengers to nearby hospitals in case of any emergency,” the official said.

Before the flight made an emergency landing, healthcare institutions in the city were alerted to make necessary preparations for any eventuality.

Doctors at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) also started making preparations as soon as it was alerted about the incident.

“As soon as we received information about the emergency landing of the Air India flight, doctors and nurses at our emergency wing began the necessary preparations to make sure that any injured passenger arriving from the airport in our hospital gets treatment immediately. Further, specialists on duty at the emergency wing were also ready to receive any critical case. Our emergency wing is well equipped and we have trained personnel who can handle such medical emergencies efficiently. We were also ready to mobilise more doctors if a medical emergency of greater dimensions occurred,” said GMCH superintendent Ramen Talukdar.

On the other hand, the GVK–EMRI 108 Emergency Ambulance Service was also pressed into service to ensure that injured passengers can have access to medical care right at the airport.

“Once we got the information about the emergency landing, two ambulances were immediately dispatched to the airport from Azara and Maligaon, as both these areas are closer to the airport. The paramedics inside these ambulances are well trained and equipped to handle medical emergencies. Moreover, the ambulances are equipped with advanced life support systems similar those present in intensive care units of hospitals. Fortunately, no casualty occurred and our ambulances returned without any patient,” said an official of the ambulance service.