Air Canada
Representative image of an Air Canada plane. Image/Bidgee, CC BY-SA 3.0 AU <>, via Wikimedia Commons

An Indian-origin Canadian woman has accused Air Canada of negligence that led to her 83-year-old father's death during a flight from Delhi to Montreal.

Air Canada reportedly refused to divert the flight when Shanu Pande's father, Harish Pant, had a heart attack on board, seven hours after the aircraft had left Delhi. Pant developed severe medical symptoms: chest pain, back pain, vomiting, loss of bowel control and the inability to stand up.

As soon as this happened, Pande claimed she immediately rushed to get the attention of crew members. When they came back to his seat, Pande said Pant's face had drooped on one side; he had lost control of his bowels and felt extremely weak.

The incident happened in September. Air Canada's Flight AC051 left Delhi shortly after midnight local time. When Pant's symptoms started, the flight was over Europe at that point. When Pant's daughter pleaded with them to make an emergency landing in order to take her father to a hospital, the crew refused to do so and only moved them to the business class where Pant could lay flat.

Instead, the flight flew for nine more hours. travelling over Ireland, across the Atlantic Ocean and Eastern Canada before touching ground in Montreal. Paramedics were waiting — but Pant died as they worked on him.

"He was deteriorating in front of my eyes," said Pande, whose father was officially pronounced dead at a Montreal hospital from a "presumed infarction".

Speaking in an interview two months after the nightmare flight journey with Air Canada, Pande said her unexplainable grief has now made way to anger. Pande had been looking forward to the trip for years- a flight that would bring her father to Canada from India after he finally obtained permanent residency status.

"He was at the mercy of the pilot and Air Canada people. They were inhumane and callous," she told Go Public.

In an email to Go Public, the airline's spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick wrote that Air Canada extends its deepest sympathies to Pant's family, but also "categorically rejects any assertions that it was responsible for the customer's death."

The airline's crew "properly followed the procedures" for dealing with onboard medical emergencies, wrote Fitzpatrick.

On the contrary, there have been several flights that made emergency landings in Europe because of a medical issue over the last couple of months. Just earlier this week, a Loganair flight abruptly diverted back to Edinburgh just minutes after take-off after a passenger became unwell.