Blind Passenger Left Alone In Paris After Being Kicked Off Flight
A 78-year-old blind man was kicked off a flight and left alone in Paris without his aide.
BelfastLive reports that Eric Smylie said that he and his carer, Davey Pogue, 64, had visited Paris and were on the flight back to Belfast when the incident occurred.
“I’m blind, diabetic and I have (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), so being left in Paris on my own has been a terrifying experience. I keep reliving the panic attacks,” said.
“I’m still shaking about it, I’ve lost my appetite, my confidence has gone and I feel nervous and afraid. My wife, Meta, who’s very ill, didn’t know if I was dead or alive. Neither of us will get over this.”
Smylie said the flight crew kicked them off because they thought he had been drinking.
“Davey was assisting me to the plane but when we got to the doorway, one of the staff told Davey we couldn’t come on board because we’d drink taken,” he added.
“Davey said we’d had three drinks and he was very annoyed and challenged them. The whole thing blew up. But the air stewardess said we had to go. There was a whole row. Davey was very upset because he felt responsible to get me home to Meta safely,” Smylie continued.
“We were not drunk. We’d had three of pints of beer in the airport. Some other passengers from Northern Ireland stood up to try to help us and said it was obvious we weren’t drunk,” he said.
“I was shocked beyond belief. I found out later Davey was put in police cells and I ended up in the Holiday Inn Express. I was terrified. I couldn’t understand anyone or see anything,” he recalled.
“I lay in the room and wept. Poor Meta was at home and didn’t know if I was alive or dead. All she knew was that I was missing and so was Davey,” Smylie said. “She kept trying to phone me but my phone battery was dead. When Davey got his phone back, he had 52 missed calls.”
The two men were finally reunited hours later, but, there were no more flights home.
“I was so frightened. People helped me and eventually I got an Air France flight to Dublin for £290 and when I got to Dublin Airport, someone took me to the bus stop to get to Belfast. I was in tears,” he said.
EasyJet, which is a U.K. airline released a statement following the incident, “We are very sorry that this incident has caused distress for Mr. Smylie and Mr. Pogue and we are investigating to fully understand what happened and see if any lessons can be learned”
“Mandatory safety reports which were filed at the time report that the passengers were disruptive and aggressive towards our crew which is why the police were called to intervene and the passengers were not permitted to travel.”
“We have contacted the French police to understand how the two men came to be separated after they were escorted from the aircraft.”