SpiceJet: 48-year-old passenger injured during flight turbulence dies
A 48-year-old passenger who had suffered injuries during severe turbulence during a Mumbai-Durgapur SpiceJet flight in early May died last month, the airline said on Saturday.
Akbar Ansari, who suffered a spinal fracture after his seatbelt broke, had been on ventilator support for more than a month before succumbing to his injuries on September 26, his family said.
This is said to be the first instance in 42 years of a passenger in India dying because of flight turbulence. In 1980, an Indian Airlines flight experienced severe turbulence over Rampurhat in Bengal, killing two of the 132 people.
On May 1 this year, SpiceJet’s Mumbai-Durgapur flight encountered severe turbulence during its descent, injuring 14 passengers and three cabin crew members.
Akbar’s family had alleged that he did not receive proper treatment and that the passengers had not been alerted to the possibility of severe turbulence.
According to the death certificate issued by Mission Hospital in Durgapur on September 29, Akbar died of “sepsis in shock” caused by “polytrauma with spinal injury”.
The airline on Saturday said “a passenger who was injured during the severe turbulence encountered by SpiceJet flight on May 1, 2022, sadly passed away last month”.
The company “extended” all possible assistance including taking care of the passenger’s medical and hospital expenses, it said in the statement, adding that “compensation is being paid as per norms”.
Recalling what happened on May 1, Akhtar Ansari, Akbar’s brother, said: “I was seated in the middle and Akbar on the side seat. All of a sudden, a storm-like situation hit our aircraft and we felt a jerk. There was chaos in the cabin.”
He said the cabin crew had not issued a proper warning about the turbulence.
“Unfortunately, my brother’s seatbelt broke with the very first jerk. We were trying to hold him but the jerks were so severe that we could not. He was badly injured,” said Akhtar, who runs a cloth-stitching unit in Mumbai.
In the statement issued on Saturday, SpiceJet said the seatbelt sign had been on when the aircraft encountered turbulence.
“Multiple announcements were made by the pilots and crew instructing passengers to remain seated and keep their seatbelt fastened, which was unfortunately not followed by some passengers resulting in injuries,” SpiceJet said in the statement.