A wheelchair-bound woman who weighed 425 pounds was denied being able to fly on three separate airlines after attempts to board her properly failed. She later died, allegedly nine days after being rejected by the first airline.
The 56-year-old woman, who with her husband, wanted to return to the Bronx in New York City, was attempting to fly home from a holiday in Hungary.
The woman, Vilma Soltesz, had diabetes and kidney disease. She was in a wheelchair because one of her legs had been amputated. She and her husband were going home where she intended to continue with her medical care.
Her husband, Janos, is suing KLM and Delta for $6 million, according to a Nov. 27 Huffington Post article, which credited CBS New York reports for the information.
The ill-fated odyssey began when KLM airlines could not physically get her on board. The couple, after a five-hour wait, was told they could get on an outbound flight if they drove to Prague. After arriving at the airport in Prague, Delta Airlines, which they thought could accommodate her, placed her on a plastic wheelchair which proved unable to handle her bulk.
The two went back to their vacation home in Hungary. There they found out a Lufthansa flight was supposed to be able to accommodate her. After arriving at the Lufthansa plane, the crew, in addition to members from the nearby fire department, tried for half an hour to move her to the three seats she was supposed to occupy.
The captain eventually told the couple they had to leave the plane. “We had 140 persons on board, and they had connections and needed to travel,” a spokesman for Lufthansa said.
Vilma passed away in Hungary two days following the unsuccessful attempt to fly on Lufthansa. Lawyers for the Soltesz’s explained that because she was extremely sick and because they did not have faith in Hungary’s hospitals, the couple were attempting to fly home to New York to be cared for by her own doctors.
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