Passenger deaths on BA flights

Old Jun 30, 06, 4:52 am
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Passenger deaths on BA flights

I was on yesterday evening's BA155 LHR-CAI flight that diverted to Athens for a medical emergency.

Sadly a passenger in Economy passed away. As a result we spent the best part of four hours on the tarmac at Athens; most of the delay being attributable to locating and removing the luggage of the deceased passenger.

The flight eventually arrived in CAI at 0515hrs local time, five hours behind schedule.

While this incident was an unwelcome 'first' for me it set me wondering as to how frequent an occurrence passenger deaths on BA flights actually are. Any ideas?
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Old Jun 30, 06, 5:03 am
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Originally Posted by Phil the Flyer
I was on yesterday evening's BA155 LHR-CAI flight that diverted to Athens for a medical emergency.

Sadly a passenger in Economy passed away. As a result we spent the best part of four hours on the tarmac at Athens; most of the delay being attributable to locating and removing the luggage of the deceased passenger.

The flight eventually arrived in CAI at 0515hrs local time, five hours behind schedule.

While this incident was an unwelcome 'first' for me it set me wondering as to how frequent an occurrence passenger deaths on BA flights actually are. Any ideas?
There was recently a whole thread on this topic

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=549664
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Old Jun 30, 06, 5:11 am
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It's not infrequent, especially nowadays, given that people are still travelling well into old age! Before hip and knee replacements, small disability scooters etc, most people would have given up travel altogether by the time they reached their octogenarian years!

I don't know what the current procedures are, but under Dan-Air, my wife was always told to make the body look like a passenger in a deep sleep in his/her seat and draw a blanket up to the chin. I believe BA tries to accommodate the body in one of the toilets (but how you're supposed to drag a deadweight corpse to a toilet without attracting attention beats me!)

It's a very sad situation for all concerned, made worse by the bureacracy and red tape involved.
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Old Jun 30, 06, 5:54 am
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.....

Last edited by BahrainLad; Jun 30, 06 at 5:37 pm
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Old Jun 30, 06, 5:59 am
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Originally Posted by BahrainLad
Then there was the Turkish Cypriot estate to sort out, plus the matter of a very large cheque drawn on a Swedish bank that was in his pocket...
This sounds like the start of an Agatha Cristie mystery.
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Old Jun 30, 06, 5:59 am
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Yes there are a few things BA crew are able to do.

One option is to sit with the passenger as if you are comforting them all though it is really just to put other passengers at ease. Not the task I would want to do.

The Singapore A340 has a chilled locker for use if a passenger passes away mid flight.

I am surprised the CAI flight diverted but I guess there was a hope they could save him but he must have passed away during the diversion?
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Old Jun 30, 06, 6:16 am
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Originally Posted by Smirnoff
This sounds like the start of an Agatha Cristie mystery.
You have no idea...I think it took about 4 years to get probate...!
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Old Jun 30, 06, 9:23 am
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Originally Posted by Aerotec
I am surprised the CAI flight diverted but I guess there was a hope they could save him but he must have passed away during the diversion?
That is precisely what happened. An announcement was made that we were diverting to Athens because of an 'unwell passenger'. From cruising at 30,000+ ft over Greece to being on the tarmac in Athens took less than 15 minutes.

I am not sure whether the passenger died while still on the aircraft, or after he had been removed by a medical team. An announcement advising us of the passenger's demise was made by the CSD after about one hour sitting on the tarmac. All very sad.

Ironically I myself was returning to CAI from a combined UK business trip/ relative's funeral.

As a matter of interest do airlines make any attempt to recover the cost of the diversion from the deceased's family (e.g. through travel insurance, if any?)
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Old Jun 30, 06, 9:37 am
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Originally Posted by Phil the Flyer

As a matter of interest do airlines make any attempt to recover the cost of the diversion from the deceased's family (e.g. through travel insurance, if any?)
I would hope that no airline is that heartless and would put it down to just one of those things that occurs in the day-to-day running of an airline.
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Old Jun 30, 06, 9:49 am
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I can't imagine any airline trying to claim costs from the passengers estate. That would be beyond heartless. I am sure that BA don't, I have never heard of any suggestion of it anyway.
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Old Jun 30, 06, 9:53 am
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Originally Posted by BRSlad
I would hope that no airline is that heartless and would put it down to just one of those things that occurs in the day-to-day running of an airline.
You might be surprised actually.
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Old Jun 30, 06, 9:53 am
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Why would they have to offload the deceased's checked luggage? I really hope it's not something silly like the "no pax - no luggage" rule.
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Old Jun 30, 06, 9:56 am
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Originally Posted by IceTrojan
Why would they have to offload the deceased's checked luggage? I really hope it's not something silly like the "no pax - no luggage" rule.
Well, being practical, it DOES make most sense for the luggage to be with the deceased - that makes it easier for the relatives. Rather than having a body in one place and a set of suitcases in another...
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Old Jun 30, 06, 9:56 am
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Originally Posted by adrianjc32
I can't imagine any airline trying to claim costs from the passengers estate. That would be beyond heartless. I am sure that BA don't, I have never heard of any suggestion of it anyway.
Ryanair, that would of course be a different matter.

To the grieving family: "Give us all the costs of the diversion, and we'll give you the body back. Oh, also we'll charge you a 3 credit card handling fee"
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Old Jun 30, 06, 10:17 am
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Originally Posted by More Champagne Sir?
Ryanair, that would of course be a different matter.

To the grieving family: "Give us all the costs of the diversion, and we'll give you the body back. Oh, also we'll charge you a 3 credit card handling fee"
You might be surprised...

From page 288 - " no frills - the truth behind the low cost revolution in the skies" by Simon Calder

Free flights at last

You can fly completely free of charge but there are two catches: the flights are strictly one way, From Stansted Airport to Knock, in the west of Ireland. And you have to be dead. Coffins, and their occupants, making the final homecoming to county Mayo, are the only freight that Ryanair carries.... the chief executive Michael O'Leary makes a single exception out of respect for Mayo families...
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