The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Help for ill Pak flier

A patient probably has suffered a cardiac arrest. I want to make an emergency landing.

The SOS was from the pilot of a Bangkok-Dubai flight of Emirates (airline) to Calcutta airport on Thursday morning.

A 52-year-old Pakistani woman, who was flying with her son, complained of severe chest pain and respiratory distress, prompting the pilot’s cry for help.

Soon after the flight landed in Calcutta around 5am, Mohina Wahab was taken to a private hospital, where a thorough check-up revealed that she had not suffered any cardiac attack.

After preliminary treatment, she and her son plan to resume their journey on Friday.

Wahab was travelling with son Mohsin from Auckland, in New Zealand, to Dubai. “We were on our way to meet friends and relatives in Dubai, from where we were scheduled to fly to Islamabad,” said Mohsin, a student of business administration in Auckland.

His mother had visited New Zealand to stay with him for a few days. “She was quite okay till Bangkok. There was no hint of any ailment,” Mohsin recalled.

But Wahab complained of a severe chest pain and respiratory problems minutes after the flight took off from the Bangkok airport.

“The crew called a passenger who was a doctor. He examined my mother and found her blood pressure to be quite low,” the son said.

Wahab was put on oxygen, but that hardly helped in easing her problems.

The pilot decided to land at Calcutta airport, his nearest at that point of time.

At Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, Wahab was examined by a doctor and advised hospitalisation.

“We coordinated with immigration, customs and other agencies so that she could be provided all help,” said airport director V.K. Monga.

Although they did not have documents to enter India, special permission was granted to them against passports.

Emirates staff at the airport took Wahab to Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals. “She came in with symptoms of a cardiac arrest and was kept under observation,” said Subhro Banerjee, cardiologist at Apollo Gleneagles.

Tests, however, revealed she had not suffered a heart attack. “It seems she has a chronic chest problem,” said Banerjee.

Wahab was released in the afternoon, as she wanted to be treated in Islamabad.

In March, a Swiss Air flight from Bangkok to Barcelona made an emergency landing at Calcutta when a passenger started bleeding uncontrollably from her mouth. Rosa Maria Riera was rushed to Apollo Gleneagles, where the problem was fixed.

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