Passenger injured in turbulence on nightmare Indian airline flight dies

An Indian man who was injured during turbulence onboard a SpiceJet flight in May this year has died of his injuries, the airline has said.

Akbar Ansari, 48, was on ventilator support for more than a month before passing away on 26 September, according to a statement issued by SpiceJet on Saturday.

“A passenger who was injured during the severe turbulence encountered by SpiceJet flight on May 1, 2022 sadly passed away last month,” said the statement.

It said that the airline had extended all possible assistance including taking care of the passenger’s medical and hospital expenses and added that “the compensation is being paid as per norms”.

Ansari’s family members have alleged he did not receive proper treatment, reported The Indian Express.

A resident of Jharkhand state’s Giridih district, he was among 18 people who were injured on the Mumbai-Durgapur flight on 1 May.

Ansari was among the 15 passengers and three cabin crew members who were injured when the flight encountered turbulence.

The flight had 195 people on board.

Two of the injured passengers on board the SpiceJet flight were admitted to the ICU (intensive care unit) of a hospital in Durgapur, according to statement released by India’s airline regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

While one passenger had a head injury, the other had a spinal injury.

“Ansari suffered a severe spinal injury and fracture around his neck and was being treated at The Mission hospital in Durgapur. He was on a ventilator for over a month before he passed away,” a DGCA official who did not want to be named told Hindustan Times.

“This is the second passenger death in India due to severe en route turbulence,” the official added.

In 1980, an Indian Airlines flight had encountered severe turbulence in West Bengal state’s Rampurhat, killing two out of the 132 people on board.

Last month, SpiceJet objected to what it said were “unfounded” claims of passengers being asked to pray after its flight from Goa to Hyderabad made a “full scale emergency landing”, diverting as many as 11 planes at the airport after smoke filled the cabin and cockpit.

This was reportedly the 8th instance this year when a SpiceJet flight suffered technical glitches, causing alarm among flyers and raising scrutiny from federal aviation regulators.

The airline was put under enhanced DGCA supervision after its string of operational and financial headwinds in recent times. The regulator last month allowed the airline to resume operating at full capacity until March 2023.