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Woman’s dreadful airport escalator scooter plunge

January 3, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Alaska Airlines faces a lawsuit after one of its passengers, an elderly woman, accidently drove her mobility scooter onto an airport escalator and tumbled down, the whole episode captured on airport CCTV.

The incident at Portland International Airport is tragic because the 74-year-old woman later died. Now the family of the victim has filed a lawsuit against Alaska Airlines.

CCTV footage shows the accident clearly and also shows the speed with which fellow travellers leapt to help the woman, when they realised what was happening. It does them credit.


Bernice Kekona was travelling back to the continental US after a visit to Hawaii  when a gate-to-gate assistance worker left her alone in a concourse instead of helping her get to her connecting flight, according to the lawsuit filed in Seattle.

The suit contends that Kekona thought she was steering toward the lift, but learned too late that it was the escalator.

Still strapped to her scooter, Kekona tumbled down the escalator. She survived the initial fall, but infection set in and surgeons had to amputate the lower part of her leg. She died the day after the operation in September, the suit states.

The Oregonian quoted a written statement from Alaska Airlines, which said the airline was “heartbroken by this tragic and disturbing incident” but also said that Kekona had declined further help from a gate-to-gate escort worker (who was employed through a subcontractor) after she had been assisted into her motorised scooter.

Written by Peter Needham

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