British holidaymaker dies on Ryanair flight to Lanzarote

Mum died three hours into flight after collapsing

Updated: 
British holidaymaker dies on Ryanair flight to Lanzarote

A British woman died of an undiagnosed heart condition while on a Ryanair flight to Lanzarote.

Mum-of-two Davina Tavener, 47, was travelling with her husband Andrew on 1 November 2014 from Manchester for a week's break.

Andrew became concerned when she did not return from the toilet at around three hours into the flight, 20 minutes before landing.

Members of the cabin crew opened the door to find Mrs Tavener had collapsed.

A consultant breast surgeon at the Royal Bolton Hospital, Clare Garnsey, was on board and offered her help.

Attempts were made to save her but nothing could be done. According to the Mirror, Ms Garnsey told the hearing: "I asked for gloves, air way adjunct, mask and bag to provide breathing and a defibrillator because if there are cardiac issues that is the patients best chance of survival. It was quite a surprise this wasn't there."

An inquest held at Bolton Coroners Court ruled Mrs Tavener had died of natural causes.

Coroner Alan Walsh commended Ms Garnsey and Ryanair staff in their reactions to the situation.

According to The Bolton News, he said: "I cannot speak more highly of the involvement Ms Garnsey and those others who participated in the resuscitation process.

"I include in that comment, members of Ryanair cabin crew.

"In relation to Mrs Tavener's death, it is difficult to know whether any equipment would have assisted, because there was a five to 10 minute period when she was in the toilet, and it's not known for how long she was unresponsive."

However, he also called on airlines to start carrying defibrillators on board, which could possibly save lives in similar situations.

He said he would be writing to the European Aviation Safety Agency, the Civil Aviation Authority, and the Irish Aviation Authority, about the possibility of installing defibrillators on board, which is currently not a legal requirement.

He said: "I don't believe there is any difference between short haul flights and long haul flights.

"It takes a second to have a cardiac event and sadly cardiac events don't choose whether they are 10 minutes into a flight or 10 hours into a flight, it can happen at any time."

Indeed, Clive James, National Training Officer at St John Ambulance, told Aol Travel: "Automated external defibrillators are proven to save lives.

"A cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time and we know that survival rates increase by more than 50% if a defibrillator is used within the first four minutes, so immediate access is vital.

"Every second matters and by having a defibrillator on aircrafts, and any public place, the risk of death by cardiac arrest can be greatly reduced."

A spokesman for Ryanair said: "Ryanair meets all regulatory requirements in terms of medical assistance provided on its flights and is not legally required to carry defibrillators on board.

"All our crews are trained in first aid and are responsible for the safety and security of the cabin.

"Should an incident occur in flight which requires medical intervention, our crew divert to the nearest suitable airport and request medical assistance to be on standby before landing.

"We offer our sincere condolences to the family."


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