Etihad Airways explains why Kenyan patient was ejected from plane

Kenyan patient Wangari Ndumia stranded at JKIA after being rejected by Etihad Airways. [David Gichuru, Standard]
Etihad Airways has explained the circumstances that led to a Kenyan patient on board one of their planes was ejected.

The airline through its Guest Relations Officer Zeinab Al Faytarouni said the Wangari Ndumia could not be allowed to fly at the time as ‘she was in so much pain’.

“Our staff called Medlink and informed them of Ms Wangari current condition and to a count of 1-10, Ms Wangari pain was at nine,” said Zeinab.

Zeinab said the pain, as evaluated by Medlink-which is the global health body responsible in handling inflight medical cases-was as a result of Wangari’s inability to bend her leg.

As a result, no other seat was suitable for her to stretch her leg.

“Ms Wangari requested a business class seat which was costly,” said Zeinab.

On Sunday, 25-year-old Wangari together with her sister Ann Ndumia were ejected from Etihad Airways EY 642 en route New Delhi, India via Abu Dhabi that was set to depart at 2:15pm.

The ejection caused a commotion at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) with Ann claiming that even after boarding the plane, and were waiting for a favourable seat to be found, they were still ejected from the plane.

Zeinab said Etihad staff had a challenge of transferring Wangari from the wheelchair to her seat, which initially she had been preassigned seats at row 20, and this forced the airline to swap them.

“Ms Ndumia couldn't sit comfortably at row six as it was difficult for her to bend her knee which was fitted with an Ilizarov apparatus, therefore, obstructing the pathway for other guests,” explained Zeinab.

One of the ground staff at the airport was then tasked with standing next to her reminding the other passengers to be mindful of her leg as they boarded.

The Captain then requested for the medical approval letter which was handed to him and our team also decided to contact Medlink for clearance as she was in a lot of pain and she was making a lot of noise whenever she was being moved to her seat.

“At this time Medlink had declined to clear her resulting to total offload and the same was explained to the guest as why she was being offloaded,” she said.

By yesterday, Ann was still following up with the booking agent in a bid to get a refund in order to book another airline.

Wangari is scheduled to undergo surgery at BLK Hospital, India to repair multiple broken bones and on his left thigh and insertion of a prosthesis due to massive bone loss

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Etihad AirwaysWangari NdumiaJomo Kenyatta International AirportJKIA