Parents still don’t know why infant died in aircraft

June 20th, 2008 - 6:21 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) A Canadian couple of Indian origin are spending a harrowing time here, awaiting the autopsy report of their four-and-a-half-month-old son child who died minutes after landing at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA). “We only want to know the cause of death of our only child. He was healthy. We had consulted a doctor in Toronto and got him medically checked before leaving for India. The doctor had told us that there was no problem with the child and he could travel by aircraft,” Mohan Babu, the grieving father, told IANS Friday.

The parents are staying on in the capital for the autopsy report. “The doctors at Safdarjung Hospital have assured me that they will come out with the post-mortem report by June 23,” said Mohan Babu. They were originally scheduled to go to Bangalore straightaway.

The child’s body was taken to Safdarjung Hospital an hour after the doctors at IGIA declared him dead. The NRI couple were flying by Jet Airways from Toronto via Brussels. The flight landed at IGIA around 11.30 p.m Wednesday.

The cabin crew had asked the mother, Sujata Mohan, to feed the child during descent, a common procedure with infants. “My wife was asked to do the same when we flew from Toronto to Brussels. But when we were over Delhi’s airspace, I could feel a drop in oxygen level in the aircraft,” said Mohan Babu.

“We could feel the pressure in our ears while landing here. My child’s death was an unusual incident. We just don’t know why it happened. It could be due to choking.

“Is there any agency to look into it? The airline crew and officials were insensitive. There must be an international aviation rule which could deliver justice to us,” Mohan Babu wondered.

The couple are undecided whether to press charges against the airline. “We do not want compensation,” Mohan Babu said. “The child is no more with us. We only want to know how our child died. If it was negligence on the part of the airline, action should be taken against it.”

Jet Airways spokesperson A. Shivanandan said: “The child did not die in the aircraft. He died outside.” He did not want to say anything else as the police were investigating the matter.

But the police said they had boarded the aircraft and taken the statement of the parents before they took the child’s body to the mortuary. They will take the case forward after receiving the post-mortem report.

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