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Air New Zealand passengers grounded for two hours with a dead body on board

Auckland-bound flight ANZ80 is said to have made an emergency landing at Cairns International Airport at about 2:30 pm on Monday after a male passenger died midflight.
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Shocked plane passengers were grounded with a dead body for two hours after bungling staff brought wrong size steps for paramedics to get on board.

Airport sources said there was a “comedy of errors” as the paramedics were forced to crawl on the Air New Zealand plane that was diverted to Cairns, Australia, on a flight from Hong Kong. The Cairns Post reports Auckland-bound flight ANZ80 made an emergency landing at Cairns International Airport at about 2:30 pm on Monday after a male passenger died midflight.

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It is understood the paramedics had to remove the body of the plane via the stairs, through the landing in the early morning, the entrance to the plane was problematic while the plane sat on the tarmac.
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New Zealand-based Stuff reporter, Gerald Hutching, who was on the flight, said he was told by an airport official that the man in his 60s, was diabetic and had forgotten to take his insulin. Hutching said that the crew called for medical assistance on the plane the speakers about an hour into the 10-hour flight and a doctor is present to him.

The reporter, who described fellow passengers as “very patient during the drama, added: “He was wearing an oxygen mask, and at one time they were using a defibrillator on him.”

“He was bent over… he looked not in a good way.”

Airport sources described the urgency of the situation as a “comedy of errors” if there is no ground crew was available to help in the removal of the body at that time of the morning.
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Airport sources told the Cairns Post that the drama on board the plane was left after it landed. They described the emergency as a “comedy of errors” if there is no ground crew was available to help in the removal of the body at that time of the morning. The pilot of the plane did not want passengers to use an air bridge, and risk seeing the dead body.

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So instead of the crew coming down the stairs for the plane — but what arrived was too small.

The source added: “They found a small staircase, which they put at the door of the plane. They were totally inadequate. The workers had to leave their kit at the top of the stairs, and stand on and they were still only chest-high to the door. They had to climb on that plane to attend to [the passenger].”

It is understood the paramedics had to remove the body of the plane via the stairs, through the landing in the early morning, the entrance to the plane was problematic while the plane sat on the tarmac.

An Air New Zealand spokesperson confirmed to the News.com.au that there was a medical emergency on board the aircraft.

The airline said: “NZ80 Hong Kong – Auckland) diverted to Cairns on Monday morning when a passenger became unwell shortly after departure.”

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“As you will appreciate, due to privacy reasons we cannot share further details about the passenger. After leaving Cairns, the aircraft continued on to Auckland, arriving about two hours after the scheduled arrival time.”

Following the media attention of the death, the airline attracted negative comments about the length of time that it took to remove the body of the man. This was the reason a woman from New Zealand, who said she was his sister, to post on Facebook: “Thank you to the people who have made use of sympathetic responses. For the others… maybe if this happens with your family you will be a little less negative… his sister.”

And a woman passenger posted on Facebook: “We [were] on the flight. The staff was (sic) so professional. Two doctors were on board. Sure Was a long trip home but nothing [compared] to what the poor man’s family would have to deal with.”

However, questions have been raised about the availability of emergency insulin on the plane, with a number of questions as to why “injections are not on board for exactly that situation. Diabetes is a fairly common condition.”

This story originally appeared on The Sun. Read more content out of The Sun here.

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