A SpiceJet flight from Bangkok to Delhi was diverted to Varanasi on Friday after a Thai national developed a health issue on board. The passenger was rushed to the hospital but was declared brought dead.
"SpiceJet flight SG 88 operating from Bangkok to Delhi was diverted to Varanasi earlier today owing to a medical emergency on board. After landing, the passenger was rushed to a hospital by SpiceJet team. However, the passenger was declared brought dead by the attending doctors," SpiceJet said in a statement.
The Spice Jet flight took off from Bangkok at 7.40 am with 189 passengers including a 22-member Thai group of tourists of which the deceased was a member. The Thai national has been identified as 53-year-old Atabot Thngcusorn.
The authorities at the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport in Varanasi were informed by the plane crew that Atabot suffered a heart attack and they would have to make an emergency landing. Once the plane landed, the passenger was rushed to a nearby medical facility where he was pronounced dead.
Airport Director Anil Kumar Rai said the deceased was accompanied by his wife, sister and seven other family members. All have since deplaned at Varanasi and the Thai Embassy was being notified of the incident.
As specified by SpiceJet in its guidelines, access to advanced medical care in flight may not be possible in an aircraft. "Cabin Crew receive training in first aid and basic life support and in the use of emergency medical equipment, including Automated External Defibrillators (AED). However, limited space in an aircraft may pose serious problems while instituting even basic medical care on-board," the SpiceJet manual states.
It also adds that medical kits are available onboard, but the cabin crew can only open them in the presence of a registered medical practitioner. However advanced medical care onboard is not possible.
It states that passengers with medical conditions that carry a high risk of requiring extraordinary medical assistance in flight may not be accepted for air travel.
SpiceJet in its manual adds that a passenger with medical conditions must submit a Medical Information Form (MEDIF) 48 hours prior to travel and approval for travel should be given by the SpiceJet Medical team.
The form is needed if a passenger has - an injury, illness or medical condition that may cause a significant problem for self or for others in flight; a medical condition that may be made worse by the flight itself; an infectious disease that could be contagious at the time of travel; a requirement for special medical equipment, among others.