ANI Photo | DGCA issues show cause notice to Air India over death of elderly passenger due to lack of wheelchair

In the wake of a heartbreaking incident at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, Air India finds itself under intense scrutiny following the tragic death of an 80-year-old passenger, Babu Patel, who collapsed and passed away after walking from the plane to the terminal.
The incident occurred on February 12th, 2024, upon the arrival of Air India flight AI-116 from New York. Patel, accompanied by his 76-year-old spouse, Narmadaben Patel, had both booked wheelchairs for assistance. However, upon disembarkation, only one wheelchair was available, leaving Patel to walk alongside his wife, who was aided by the lone available wheelchair.
Tragically, during the journey from the aircraft to the terminal, Patel collapsed near the APHO office. Airport medical personnel administered CPR and swiftly transported him to Nanavati Hospital in an MIAL ambulance. Despite efforts to save him, Chief Medical Officer Ronaldo confirmed Patel’s passing.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has cited violations of regulations outlined in CAR SECTION 3, SERIES ‘M’, PART I, concerning the carriage of persons with disabilities or reduced mobility.
According to Para 4.1.7 of the CAR, airlines are obligated to provide seamless assistance to passengers with specific needs, ensuring their safe travel from the departure terminal to the aircraft and from the aircraft to the arrival terminal exit.
Consequently, Air India has been served a Show Cause Notice by the DGCA for failing to adhere to these regulations, with a mandated response deadline of seven days. Additionally, all airlines have been issued an advisory to ensure an adequate supply of wheelchairs for passengers requiring assistance during embarkation and disembarkation.
The tragic demise of Babu Patel underscores the critical importance of airline compliance with disability assistance protocols and highlights the need for stringent enforcement to prevent such incidents in the future

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