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Deaths onboard BA and AI

Two elderly passengers flying into Mumbai on two different international flights early on Saturday died onboard within hours of each other, reports Lalatendu Mishra.

india Updated: Nov 04, 2006 23:03 IST

Call it a macabre coincidence but two elderly passengers flying into Mumbai on two different international flights early on Saturday died onboard within hours of each other.

In the first case, British Airways passenger Panna Ramesh Marfatia, 58, who had boarded the flight from Heathrow Airport in London complained to the cabin crew of uneasiness.

In the flight she complained of cramps in her legs and was immediately administered oxygen by the cabin crew. Also, her feet were raised to ensure proper blood flow but all this proved in vain. She died before the aircraft landed in Mumbai.

Confirming the death, BA spokesperson asking not to be named said,"We don't know the exact reason for her demise. The case file is yet to come to us. Our staff took all the necessary steps and care and we condole her death."

It is suspected that Marfatia died due to deep vein thrombosis wherein a blood clot enters the vein and blocks supply to the brain or heart. Normally, air passengers who fly long hours non-stop are susceptible to this. Marfatia was travelling alone on BA flight number BA-139, which landed at 1:08 am.

Airport doctor declared her dead on arrival. The deceased's husband, son-in-law and daughter who had come to the airport to receive her were then told the shocking news.

The body was sent to Cooper Hospital for postmortem at 4.10 am.

In the second case, 75-year-old Ramanand Sharma travelling onboard Air India's AI-200 flight from Dar-es-Salaam—Nairobi-Mumbai flight passed away onboard the aircraft due to heart attack.

He was travelling along with his son from Nairobi. The crew rushed to his rescue and a doctor co passenger helped to revive him but he died.

When the flight landed at the Mumbai airport at 2.52 am the airport doctor rushed and declared him dead.

Sharma, when arrived in Mumbai had no pulse, no blood pressure and heart beat. His body was shifted to Cooper Hospital at 5.10 am for postmortem.

Air India spokesman S Venkat said, "The passenger was already a stretcher case. Initially we refused to accept him due to his bad condition but he came with indemnity. We took him onboard with the condition that we would not be responsible for any eventuality. Unfortunately he died."

Since the elderly person desperately wanted to come to India and Air India as the national flag carrier took him onboard after taking the no objection letters.

Both the airlines refused that there was any negligence on their part. Cooper Hospital mortuary official Ram Tiwari said that the post mortems indicated heart attack as the reason behind the deaths. "Both have died due to heart attack and their bodies have been handed over to their families," he said.

Email lalatendumishra@hindustantimes.com

First Published: Nov 04, 2006 23:03 IST