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China:Amputee girl sues airline for Boarding Refusal

Last post 02-20-2006, 9:35 PM by magiclfc. 0 replies.
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  •  02-20-2006, 9:35 PM 3224

    Sad [:(] China:Amputee girl sues airline for Boarding Refusal

    Source: China Daily

    (A 14-year-old girl who was refused permission to board a Hainan Airlines plane and thus missing the chance to have her severed foot reattached is in hospital.)

    BEIJING, Feb. 18 -- The family of a 14-year-old girl who was refused permission to board a Hainan Airlines plane and thus missing the chance to have her severed foot reattached has decided to sue the airline.

    However, a statement from the airline pointed out that the girl was on a stretcher and that aviation regulations do not allow passengers to be transported that way.

    Zhang Qihuai, the girl's lawyer, told China Daily on Friday that he is trying to get more evidence in the case. Zhang was confident of victory.

    The right foot of Xiaoqing Zhang would not release her real name was seriously injured after a traffic accident in Jiuquan in Northwest China's Gansu Province on the morning of January 15. Short of both medical facilities and experience, local doctors advised that she go to a larger hospital in Lanzhou and have an operation within 12 hours.

    Xiaoqing's father wanted to send her to Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu Province, by air. However, at the airport in Jiayuguan, the nearest one to Jiuquan, boarding gate agents stopped them from boarding even after the father begged them on bended knees.

    Refused also by the flight's captain, Xiaoqing then boarded a bus to Lanzhou, arriving at the hospital 18 hours after the accident. The foot had to be amputated because part of it had already been infected with gangrene.

    Zhang said the airline should be held responsible because it has no right to prevent passengers with tickets from boarding. What is more, he said, the booking office knew about the girl's situation before it sold the tickets, he said.

    The airline's statement said that the plane had only 32 seats and that, according to aviation rules, it is not allowed to carry stretchers.

    Dong Nianqing, an expert with the Civil Aviation Management Institute, said the captain made the right decision to give priority to the safety of 30 other people aboard.

    "We should not disregard those rules because there have been many lessons learnt," Dong said.

    But Xiaoqing's family said they agreed to let the girl board without the stretcher, but the captain refused that possibility, as well.

    According to the Aviation Law, an airline may refuse entry to those whose lives are in jeopardy.

    But Zhang reasoned that Xiaoqing's life was not in jeopardy, as assured by the doctor who accompanied her and her father to the airport.

    Public opinion seemed to be on the girl's side. In an online survey, at least 90 per cent of the surveyed blamed the "merciless" airliner, believing exceptions should be made in some cases.

    In fact, rules have been broken before in China in order to save lives, reported the Liaoshen Evening News in Northeast China's Liaoning Province.

    A newborn baby was permitted to board a China Southern Airlines flight to have an operation in March 2004, although current rules forbid any one younger than 15 days from boarding.

    Wang Weimin, another expert with the institute, said that setting up a mature contingency system would be the right thing to do in case of such emergencies.
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