London’s Gatwick Airport has launched a probe after a passenger died shortly after leaving a plane.
An inquiry is being carried out to investigate the cause of death of the disabled passenger, who is thought to have fallen off an escalator while alighting from the aircraft without a helper.
It comes days after the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority recorded an increase in reports of “significant service failings” at airports, including incidents where passengers needing assistance have been taken off planes hours after other passengers.
EasyJet confirmed the death on Wednesday, saying members of its cabin crew gave medical assistance to the unnamed passenger while waiting for help from paramedics.
The airline said: “A number of our cabin crew provided medical assistance to a passenger at Gatwick Airport while waiting for paramedics to arrive. However, the passenger sadly later passed away.
“Our thoughts are with their family and friends at this difficult time.”
A Gatwick Airport representative said the incident occurred while airport staff were helping three passengers with restricted mobility to alight from the plane and staff shortages played no role in the incident.
The airport has been hit by a staffing crisis that caused cancellations of flights and sparked complaints of long queues. The airport apologised last week to a disabled passenger forced to wait 90 minutes for assistance to leave a plane.
The representative said it was “a sad and tragic incident, and our thoughts remain with the deceased’s family”.
“Staff shortages were not a factor in this incident, ” has been claimed. It is normal for one staff member to disembark three passengers who require assistance by taking them one at a time the short distance to the waiting buggy.
“A formal investigation is currently underway, and it would not be appropriate to comment further.”