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

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
9 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Numsa prepares for life after Cosatu

Numsa has not only reiterated its call for President Jacob Zuma to resign but it is also preparing for life outside of Cosatu, a report states.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Note 16GB

GALAXY Note combines the market's largest HD Super AMOLED display,...

From R3899.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...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.