Cancer patient 'denied oxygen' by easyJet staff lucky to be alive

Cancer patient 'denied oxygen' by easyJet staff lucky to be alivePA

A cancer patient, who was travelling to Cyprus with easyJet for a holiday, believed she was going to die when she was refused oxygen on the flight, she claims.

The Daily Mail reports that Annette Townend, 56, said she boarded the plane late and was gasping for air after she was stopped from using a pre-booked wheelchair.

Shortly after take-off she told a flight attendant, 'oxygen, oxygen', but was informed it was 'for emergencies only.'

Annette became so desperate after suffering an asthma attack that she scribbled the message 'I can't breathe need oxygen dying' on a piece of paper and put it on the seat beside her.

She said that apart from the disabled woman behind her, no one showed concern for her plight.

The 56-year-old made it through the four-and-a-half hour journey from Manchester but says she was left in such a state that she ended up in hospital with pneumonia.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, she said: 'I was absolutely gasping for air, I couldn't breathe and I have never been so frightened in my life. I really thought I was going to die. The higher the plane went the worse my breathing got. It was pure purgatory.

'My doctor told me later I am lucky to be alive. The attitude of the easyJet stewards was disgusting.'

easyJet dismissed the criticism and claimed she declined wheelchair assistance at the airport and agreed to cope without oxygen.

The widow, from Baildon, West Yorkshire, is furious and is considering legal action.

She has been undergoing chemotherapy for bowel cancer and hoped the ten-day trip to see a friend in Cyprus would help her recovery. She said wheelchair access was booked for both legs of £190 trip to Paphos.

But a 15-minute delay caused by security staff checking medication in her hand luggage meant no one was at the wheelchair assistance desk when she arrived.

She was forced to walk across the terminal, dragging her bag behind her.

Annette says she became 'hysterical' when her name was called out on the tannoy to urgently go to the gate.

'I was wheezing, breathless and angry when I got there and the flight was ten minutes late because it took me so long,' she said.

'I wrote the note when the passenger behind me asked what was wrong. The stewards must have seen it on the chair but they did nothing.'

A spokeswoman for the airline insisted that 'special assistance' staff collected Mrs Townend from the airport shopping area when she was in difficulty.

'easyJet's highest priority is the health and safety of all on board,' she said. 'Our cabin crew spoke to Mrs Townend in detail to ensure her comfort and agreed with her that she was content to continue the flight without requiring the oxygen.

'Whilst we feel our crew made every effort to look after Mrs Townend's needs, we would like to apologise for any distress that was experienced.'

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