As we reported yesterday, Vilma Soltesz, a 56-year-old diabetic New Yorker who weighed 425 pounds (192 kg), died on a trip to Hungary after being refused boarding on several aircrafts.
The woman had a hard time getting around, as she had lost one leg to the disease. She also had medical problems involving her kidneys, and eventually lost her life to kidney failure.
Her husband Janos is suing two airlines for causing her death, by denying her a flight home, where she would have been treated.
KLM is one of the carriers cited in the suit. The Soltesz family was scheduled to fly home on one of their aircrafts, however, come boarding, plane staff let them know that their equipment didn't feature any extensible seatbelts.
“Delta and KLM did everything possible to assist the family,” a company rep states. They redirected them to Prague, where they were told a Delta plane would offer suitable accommodation for a disabled person.
Unfortunately, she was dubbed too heavy to be carried on board on the sky-lift elevator. In addition to that, personnel informed her the airline’s plastic chairs would not be able to hold her weight.
The joint venture that includes Delta and Air France-KLM was dubbed liable for her death, by the grieving husband, CBS News reports.
“When KLM was unable to safely board Mrs. Soltesz in Budapest, it was determined she might be able to fly on the larger Delta aircraft out of Prague, but unfortunately that was not the case.
“Our records indicate Delta staff in Prague made repeated attempts for nearly an hour to board the customer, but they were unable to get her onboard the aircraft," the airline spokesperson argues, in response to the claims against the company.
The Solteszs turned to Lufthansa on October 22, but faced another rejection as the crew and local fire department were unable to bring the woman on board, even after 30 minutes of trying.
The pilot made the decision to deny her access on the flight, as he had to make several other connections. Lufthansa is also implicated in the suit.
“We had 140 passengers on board, and they had connections and needed to travel. The question was never the seat belt. The question was the mobility of the passenger,” the company answers.