Hainan Airlines has defended the response of its cabin crew during a recent in-flight medical emergency, which ended in the death of a female passenger, after relatives of the traveler blamed the Chinese airline for not handling the situation properly.
The company posted on Tuesday a statement on its Weibo account clarifying how flight attendants behaved in a timely and appropriate way to the emergency that took place on December 17, 2017. It also shook off any allegation of misconduct in the death of 55-year-old Fu Mingyun.
Fu was aboard flight HU7440 from Harbin, in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, to the eastern city of Nanchang for a layover, when she lost consciousness.
The plane was en route to Xiamen, southwestern province of Fujian.
According to a phone conversation between Fu's son and a representative of Hainan Airlines made available for the Strait Herald, the flight attendants reported the incident immediately to the plane's captain, while two passengers who said they were paramedics helped with Fu's emergency treatment in mid-air.
Fu regained consciousness before arriving in Nanchang and was allowed to stay aboard the plane after it landed. She assured the flight attendants that she could go on with her journey.
However, ten minutes after the plane took off from Nanchang, Fu was found in a coma again, with no heartbeat this time, prompting the plane to return to its stopover point.
According to the airline's statement, the cabin crew performed emergency treatment, following the instructions in the country's Flight Operations Manual and the Cabin Crew Manual issued by Civil Aviation Administration of China.
After an emergency landing, Fu was rushed to the hospital. However, all efforts to rescue her proved futile.
Last week, Fu's relatives questioned the way Hainan Airlines handled the emergency, arguing that the cabin crew should not have allowed the woman to remain on the plane after landing for the first time in Nanchang. They said that by not forcing her to disembark, they obstructed the process of proper emergency treatment.
Hainan Airlines did not directly respond to the allegations of the relatives, but said it will keep working with them and will provide any necessary help.
Chinese netizens backed the way Hainan Airlines' handled the incident.
"You have done all you can, no need to feel guilty. Hainan Airlines has always provided a good service," wrote Weibo user AiCCdesamoye under the company's statement.
Others suggested airline companies could prepare better for such emergencies by carrying basic medications and medical equipment.
"Why aren't Chinese commercial flights equipped with automated external defibrillators?" asked a user who goes by the name Dongxifang on Tencent News.