Airline backs defibrillator campaign

By Lisa CleverdonAN airline has backed a call for a change in regulations to compel plane operators to carry defibrillators on short-haul flights.Mary Tingle, whose husband died following a heart attack while flying back from holiday, has demanded a new law to make carrying life-saving equipment compulsory.

By Lisa Cleverdon

AN airline has backed a call for a change in regulations to compel plane operators to carry defibrillators on short-haul flights.

Mary Tingle, whose husband died following a heart attack while flying back from holiday, has demanded a new law to make carrying life-saving equipment compulsory.

Mrs Tingle, whose 61-year-old husband Peter began feeling ill an hour into a flight home from Athens, is calling for legislation to force airlines to have defibrillators on every flight.


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The grieving widow said she would never know if the machine - which helps revive heart attack victims - would have saved her husband, but was convinced others may benefit if she can prompt a change in the law.

Mr Tingle, of Elmswell, near Bury St Edmunds, was taken ill on an easyJet flight as he returned from holiday with his wife.

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A doctor was found and initially stomach trouble was suspected, but Mr Tingle's condition worsened and he passed out.

But Mrs Tingle said there was no defibrillator on board and although the flight was diverted to Stuttgart, her husband died from a heart attack shortly after the plane touched down.

Ray Webster, chief executive of easyJet, offered his condolences to Mrs Tingle and her family, and backed her call for a change in the regulations.

"I would like to reassure her that following the incident, easyJet launched an immediate investigation to ascertain if there was anything further we could have done to provide further assistance when Mr Tingle took ill on board our aircraft," he said.

"The result of our investigation established that we did everything possible for Mr Tingle. EasyJet would welcome any changes initiated by the Civil Aviation Authority to the on-board medical equipment and is keen to co-operate with any reassessment of the current regulations."

Mrs Tingle has also enlisted the help of David Ruffley, the Conservative MP for Bury St Edmunds, in her campaign.

He said a Government aviation health working party had been set up in 2001 to consider the issue, but it appears no proposals had so far been made.

"I applaud Mrs Tingle for what she is doing at what must still be a very difficult time for her. The case of Mr Tingle is not a one-off incident and this has been a live issue since 2001, and I intend to get answers as to why we are still waiting for action to be taken three years on," pledged Mr Ruffley.

lisa.cleverdon@eadt.co.uk

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