Airlink scare: ‘why no medics?’

2011-11-14 00:00

A HILTON resident, Andy Pepperell, who was among the passengers on board Airlink Flight SA 8739 during last week’s controlled emergency landing at O.R. Tambo airport, says no para­medics or ambulance were immediately on standby to help a colleague who had collapsed after exiting the aircraft.

His allegation was denied yesterday by the Airport Company South Africa (Acsa) communications manager at O.R. Tambo, Unathi Batyashe-Fillis.

She said all internal emergency services, including an ambulance with paramedics, and fire crews were deployed.

The ambulance was on standby on the runway when the flight landed, she said.

Batyashe-Fillis disputed that it took “twenty minutes” for the ambulance and paramedics to respond to the plight of the passenger in question.

“He was stabilised by the paramedics and he was taken to the clinic,” she added.

Pepperell said in an e-mail that one of his three colleagues on the plane became seriously stressed in the two hours the plane circled to burn off fuel ahead of the emergency landing and had even lost consciousness before landing.

“We managed to revive him and get him prepared and into the brace position during the landing, and myself and another colleague got him safely down the chute before we exited ourselves.

“We were surrounded by numerous fire crew on the ground and there were indeed plenty of crash tenders attending and very caring emergency crew escorting us away from the scene to a safe distance.

“Good job so far.

“However, our stressed colleague collapsed on the runway and went into serious shock.

“Here lies the problem … there was not one person with any medical training, nor an ambulance, anywhere near the scene of the crash! Unbelievable!

“What if the aircraft had broken up and there were injured people lying all over the runway?

“There were two passenger buses there but no ambulances!

“We stayed with our downed colleague long after the rest of the passengers had been taken to the terminal building by Airlink.

“The fire crews had no oxygen or even a blanket to cover our shocked, shaking and convulsing colleague.

“As I had nothing suitable, my female colleague used her jacket to try to cover our colleague to keep him warm,” he said

“Innes Bester of Airlink … made an urgent radio request for an ambulance, but the one solitary ambulance [still with no rescue or medical treatment facilities on board — not even oxygen] arrived only about 20 minutes later.”

Pepperell joined other passengers in their praise for pilots Harm Kallenberg and Chris van Rensburg and the other members of the crew whose handling of the emergency, he said, was “impeccable”.

For his fellow survivors Pepperell had one message, “Enjoy the rest of your lives!”

• ingrido@witness.co.za

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Africa
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.