A mother was filmed by a fellow passenger as she begged Pakistan International Airlines crew members to let fresh air into the cabin after her small child passed out due to high temperatures while the delayed aircraft sat waiting on the taxiway for takeoff. PIA officials say that they have launched an investigation into the “unfortunate incident.”
A mother’s anguish as her young child nearly succumbs to the heat aboard a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight while delayed on the tarmac has become both a viral video and a source of embarrassment for the flag carrier. The hard-to-watch cell phone video was filmed prior to takeoff on a Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) to Islamabad International Airport (ISB)-bound flight last month during an historic heatwave.
The footage shows the young mother shouting for crew members to open a door as the infant child in her arms appears to lose consciousness. Other passengers, including the traveler who filmed and posted the video to social media, can be heard jeering airline employees and repeatedly uttering the word “shame.” For their part, crew members seen in the video are attempting to render aid to the child and apologizing nearly non-stop, but also steadfastly refusing to open the cabin door.
Airline officials confirmed authenticity of the video, terming the events captured in the footage an “unfortunate incident.” Management released a statement promising a “detailed inquiry” into the circumstances surrounding the episode.
“PIA always considers passengers safety and comfort as its foremost priority and many times PIA has even diverted its flight to other destinations to provide medical attention to passengers whenever needed,” a PIA spokesperson told the London Evening Standard. “The doors could not be opened as it would have been a severe safety violation.”
According to initial media reports, the plane’s air conditioning was malfunctioning, but the airline says the plane was unable to operate its engines (and therefore its cooling system) because of the aircraft’s location on the tarmac. PIA officials say that the mother and child were relocated to a cooler area in the cabin and the air conditioning was restored shortly after.
This isn’t the first time that a heatwave and a ground delay have put a child’s health at risk aboard a passenger plane. Last June, a small child was rushed to the hospital after a United Airlines flight sat on the tarmac at Denver International Airport (DEN) for more than 30 minutes during an extended period of dangerously high temperatures.