EASYJET has been accused of negligence after a British gran died on a Gatwick flight when staff “failed to spot she was seriously ill”.
Ann Rudkin, 63, was on the flight to Malaga from the London airport despite having a “severe chest infection” when she boarded.
The gran was discovered dead after her head jerked forward and became lodged between the seat and window as the plane came in to land.
easyJet passenger Jacob Rodgers, 28, told the Mail Online he was concerned about the grandmother as he’d met her in the airport when she complained about picking up an illness from a Caribbean cruise.
He said: “When we boarded the plane we asked her if she wanted window or aisle she said window in case she wanted to sleep.
“She’d been vomiting water and couldn’t keep anything down the last two days and she had caught a terrible chest infection on the previous flight.”
Mr Rogers, from Manchester, said Ann had been wheezing as though she had “fluid in her lungs”.
‘I TRIED TO SHAKE HER AWAKE’
But him and girlfriend Jessica were left horrified when they later discovered Ann had passed away during the flight.
Jessica said: “She moved forwards and rested her head on the seat in front of her as we prepared to land.
“As we came to land Jacob and I tried to shake her awake, when there was no response we put on the cabin help light, Jacob said, ‘We need your help we can not wake up this lady, this is serious she isn’t waking up’.”
After raising the alarm, cabin crew felt her neck for a pulse and battled to resuscitate her but sadly she couldn’t be saved.
Jessica says easyJet may have been able to save the woman if they had at some point realised she had a chest infection or checked her seatbelt as they plane came in to land.
‘NO CONCERNING SYMPTOMS’
Jessica added: “Had her seat belt been checked (when not visible) had her head been moved from the seat in front we feel may have been the difference between life and death, and this is not said lightly.”
Today, family paid tribute to the popular expat grandmother-of-two from Weymouth, Dorset.
Friend Rita Brennan said: “Ann so loved her grandsons. She’ll be watching over them.”
Costa del Sol-based English-language newspaper Euro Weekly News, where the former Weymouth and Portland Borough Council worker used to be an accounts manager, said: “We would like to send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Ann Rudkin, who has passed away suddenly.
“Ann, whose warm character and lively personality made her an extremely popular member of the Euro Weekly News family, worked with us in our previous offices in Arroyo de la Miel.
“In recent years Ann carved out a career teaching English as a foreign language, and was well known around Fuengirola amongst the expat community.”
Another close friend said Ann had been widowed twice since moving to Spain, losing both the father of her son Scott and her second partner to untimely deaths.
One said: “She was a great person to be around, really fun and full of humour.
“She was born in Dorset but lived in Essex for a long time before moving out to Spain. “She had been on the Caribbean cruise with friends. By all accounts she was having the time of her life out there. It’s so sad what’s happened.”
Ann so loved her grandsons. She’ll be watching over them
Her funeral is due to be held on Monday afternoon.
Ann had joked while on holiday in the Caribbean about feeling like she was in Spain.
She posted on Facebook from a beach in Martinique: “Wifi and they take euros. Just like being in Spain.”
Four days earlier she wrote from Jacks Bar on the island of Bequia: “Lovely beach and bar but a nightmare trek to get to it so water taxi back to where we pick the tender up.
“Anyway, having a wonderful time and ship is superb. Back to Barbados tomorrow and more Caribbean islands next week.”
WHAT THE AIRLINE SAY
But easyJet claim they did carry out a seatbelt check and confirmed the woman presented no symptoms which would “warrant concern or any action prior to prevent them from travelling at that time”.
A spokesperson added: “easyJet can confirm a passenger was taken ill onboard flight EZY8609 from London Gatwick to Malaga on 4 March 2019 after landing in Malaga.
“The cabin crew assisted by doctors onboard provided first aid and on arrival emergency services attended to provide medical care however the passenger sadly passed away.
“The safety and wellbeing of our passengers and crew is easyJet’s highest priority.
“Our ground staff and crew will not allow any passenger to travel should they believe they are unwell and unfit to travel.”
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The flight had returned from Barbados at 5.20am when the plane was surrounded by police and medical crews.
All 448 passengers and crew were put into quarantine after the plane touched down and 30 were assessed and treated by medical staff, with two of them taken to hospital. It is not clear if the two incidents are linked.
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