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Mum’s nightmare as heat nearly bakes baby on United

June 28, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

United Airlines is facing yet another outraged passenger – a mother who feared her baby son was going to die from heat prostration while a plane was stuck for two hours on the tarmac during a heatwave.

The mother, Emily France from Colorado, has criticised United’s response and is now campaigning to force airlines to let passengers leave delayed aircraft that become unbearably hot.

France was flying to Texas, to join her astrophysicist husband for a rocket launch. She told The Denver Post her four-month-old baby son Owen became overheated as they waited nearly two hours in a United aircraft delayed on the tarmac at Denver International Airport.

She said United was not equipped to handle the crisis and it took about 30 minutes to leave the plane after she called for an ambulance. She used cool wipes and crew brought ice in bags.

“They couldn’t evacuate us. It was chaos. I really thought my son was going to die in my arms,” she told the paper.

France’s description of the crisis is harrowing. She said Owen’s body flushed red, “his eyes rolled back in his head”, he was screaming and then went limp in her arms in what she called the worst moment of her life.

France said she and other passengers begged for an ambulance while crew seemed to be working out whether to order a stair-ramp pushed to the aircraft or whether the plane should return to the gate.

The baby was treated at a children’s hospital, with doctors saying he was suffering from the effects of heat but had no underlying medical condition, France said. Morning temperatures at the airport reached 32 C.

The Denver Post reported it received an email from United confirming that a child aboard flight 4644 “experienced a medical issue while the aircraft was taxiing prior to takeoff”. The pilot had then returned to the gate as crew called for paramedics to meet the aircraft. “Our thoughts are with the child and family, and we have been in contact to offer travel assistance.”

It’s the latest in a series of mishaps and blunders to generate bad publicity for United. It began with an incident in April, when a video widely shared online showed security agents in Chicago forcibly removing a doctor from an overbooked domestic flight by dragging him down the aisle.

Written by Peter Needham

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