Widower sues airlines for wife's death

2013-01-29 18:06
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New York - A New York man whose wheelchair-bound, morbidly obese wife died last year after she was denied a spot on three different flights home from Europe has sued the airlines for $6m.

Vilma Soltesz, who at the time was reported to have weighed 193kg, had an amputated leg and suffered from diabetes and kidney disease, news media said.

She was found dead at her vacation home in Hungary in October after several aircraft crews repeatedly failed to accommodate her size despite telling her they could do so, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan.

The lawsuit accused the three airlines of wrongful death and gross negligence.

The couple left their Bronx home in September on a Delta Air Lines plane, securing two seats for Vilma and one for her husband Janos, and arrived safely in Budapest on a vacation, according to the lawsuit.

By 2 October, Vilma Soltesz sought treatment at a hospital in Hungary when she fell ill. She was released and told she could fly home but to see her doctor immediately upon her arrival, according to the lawsuit.

The pair tried to leave Budapest two weeks later on a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight, with accommodations similar to what they received on their flight from the US, according to the suit.

But a captain told them to disembark after Vilma Soltesz struggled to manoeuvre from her wheelchair into her assigned seats, the lawsuit says.

After waiting in a Budapest airport for more than five hours, the couple drove to Prague to catch a Delta flight they were assured could accommodate them. But Delta did not have an adequate wheelchair to transport Vilma Soltesz to her seat, the suit added.

"The Delta flight co-ordinator told Janos and Vilma that Delta 'did not have access to a skylift' to get Vilma onto the aircraft from the rear, and that there was nothing more Delta could do for them," the lawsuit stated.

Later, on 22 October, as several medics and fire-fighters helped her board a Lufthansa flight, the captain told the couple they had to disembark because "other passengers need to catch a connecting flight and cannot be delayed further," the lawsuit says.

"Exhausted and feeling ill," Vilma Soltesz went to bed after the couple drove back to their vacation home in Veszprem, Hungary, the lawsuit says.

On 24 October, Janos found her dead.

A Delta Air Lines spokesperson said the airline had not been served with the lawsuit.

Officials with Royal Dutch Airlines and Lufthansa did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

An attorney for Soltesz did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Read more on:    lufthansa  |  klm  |  us
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

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
8 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

40% off top appliances!

Save 40% on the top 10 appliances on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save 20% on Camping gear!

Buy 4 camping items and save 20%. While stocks last. Shop now!

Fifty Shades of Grey!

This great read will captivate you from cover to cover and leave you itching for more. Get your copy now!

20% off braai items!

Save 20% when you buy 2 braai items. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Pampers!

Save 30% when you buy 3 or more selected pampers products. While stocks last. Shop now!

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You are on form and you may like an audience to share your ideas and concepts with. Drama and creativity flavour your...read more

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.