The household of Bernice Kekona is suing Alaska Airways and its contractor after the 75-year-old widowed, grandmother fell down the escalator and died months later.
Kekona landed in Portland, Ore., in June 2017 on her return from a household trip to Maui. The household’s legal professional, Brook Cunningham, stated they requested a wheelchair help service to escort Kekona to her connecting flight, however airport surveillance tapes present her wandering the airport unattended.
In line with a press release from Cunningham, “she was supplied help off the aircraft and into her wheelchair by Alaska’s firm that they contract with, Huntleigh, after which she was left there, and she or he turned confused, and that led to the autumn.”
The lawsuit signifies that Kekona appeared to confuse an escalator for an elevator. She fell down head-first whereas a number of individuals tried to assist her.
“I couldn’t perceive how an exquisite journey ended up so devastating,” stated Kekona’s daughter Darlene Bloyed in a video assertion.
A wound on Kekona’s proper foot turned contaminated a couple of months later, CBS experiences, resulting in amputation under the knee. Someday after the surgical procedure, Kekona handed away in September 2017.
“All they wanted was any individual to get her off the aircraft, use the escort service that they’re required by legislation to offer, and she or he would have been residence completely superb,” stated Cunningham in a video assertion.
Alaska airways issued this preliminary assertion to ABC Information affiliate KXLY expressing remorse for the occasions main as much as Kekona’s loss of life:
“After touchdown in Portland, Ms. Kekona was assisted into her personal motorized scooter by an airport consortium wheelchair service supplier who then escorted her from the plane into the concourse. As soon as within the concourse, she went off on her personal. We discovered from bystanders that Ms. Kekona sustained a fall whereas making an attempt to function her personal digital chair down a transferring escalator subsequent to the A concourse elevator. We instantly referred to as the Port of Portland Fireplace and Rescue, together with Port of Portland Police, who responded to the scene rapidly to offer her medical remedy.”
The airline then adopted up with an preliminary assertion claiming preliminary investigation had revealed Kekona refused further help within the terminal.
“We don’t have all of the information, however after conducting a preliminary investigation, it seems that Ms. Kekona declined ongoing help within the terminal and determined to proceed on her personal to her connecting flight. It additionally seems that when her members of the family booked the reservation, they didn’t examine any of the bins for a passenger with ‘Blind/low imaginative and prescient,’ ‘Deaf/arduous of listening to,’ or ‘Different particular wants (i.e., developmental or mental incapacity, senior/aged).’ So, there was no indication within the reservation that Ms. Kekona had cognitive, visible, or auditory impairments.”
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ABC additionally obtained remark from the corporate contracted by Alaska Airways to offer incapacity providers — Huntleigh USA Company — concerning the lawsuit and obtained the next response.
“Huntleigh USA Company is investigating the information of this case in co-operation with our authorized counsel.”
In line with the US Division of Transportation, airways are required to help impaired passengers “with boarding, deplaning and making connections.”
As well as, airways are required to make provisions to “tackle remedy of mobility aids and assistive gadgets, passenger info, lodging for individuals with imaginative and prescient and listening to impairments, safety screening, communicable ailments and medical certificates, and repair animals.”
International Information reached out to Alaska Airways and Huntleigh USA Company for touch upon the lawsuit and obtained no response.
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