NCAA probes Arik Air over passenger who suffered tea burns

A photojournalist, Bayoor Ewuoso, who was scalded by hot tea on board Arik Air flight W3 103 Y from Lagos to Johannesburg on October 31, 2014 has petitioned the Consumer Protection Directorate of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA.

In the petition, Mr. Ewuoso asked that the Consumer Protection department of the aviation agency to investigate the incident.

“I would sir appreciate if your organization can investigate this incident as I intend to seek redress for Arik Airlines’s unprofessional and inhuman conduct,” Mr. Ewuoso said in the petition.

When PREMIUM TIMES contacted the NCAA, the Director of the Consumer unit, Adamu Abdullahi, said the case was still under investigation while they wait for the passenger to recover from the injury sustained on the flight.

“We have received his petition, the case is under investigation. We have already invited Arik and we have heard their own side of the story, so we now have to invite the person, but he is not feeling very well and has to recover,” Mr. Abdullahi said.

He also told PREMIUM TIMES he was not sure how long the investigation could take, especially considering the fact that the passenger has to recover from the injury before questioning.

Mr. Ewuoso’s tale on his experience aboard the flight exposed the risks associated with flying airline that compromise basic aviation safety requirements.

About an hour before arriving Johannesburg in October for a conference, Mr. Ewuoso said he requested a cup of coffee, which an Arik flight attendant mistakenly spilled on his thighs.

In total disbelief, the flight attendant told him there was no first aid kit on board the plane, he also told Mr. Ewuoso to go to the toilet and pour cold water on the spot.

While in the toilet, the passenger noticed he already had burns that applying Vaseline jelly offered by a female passenger did not relief his pains; by the time he got to his hotel room, the burns had turned to open wounds.

Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Ewuoso lamented that the airline abandoned him to his plight without making any arrangement for him to get proper medical attention. He resorted to consulting a pharmacist who gave him a syrup and some pain killers.

In the toilet, Mr. Ewuoso noticed he had serious burns on both thighs. He splashed cold water on himself and returned to his seat. Not even the slight relief felt from applying Vaseline jelly given to him by a female passenger seated behind him was able to reduce the pain he felt on the flight to South Africa, Mr. Ewuoso said.

On arrival at Johannesburg, Mr. Ewuoso said Arik Air abandoned him to his plight without making any arrangement for him to get proper medical attention. By the time he checked into his hotel, he discovered the burn had become a wound. He consulted a pharmacist who gave him syrup and some pain killers.

However, contrary to Mr. Ewuoso’s claims, the airline denied their flight attendant did the deed.

Ola Adebanji, Arik Air’s spokesperson had told PREMIUM TIMES that Mr. Ewuoso was the one who spilled the hot coffee on himself and not the flight attendant. He said that all of the airline’s planes were equipped with first aid boxes but Mr. Ewuoso did not request for first aid treatment.

“The crew member offered the passenger Vaseline ointment which was declined. The passenger was also asked to go to the toilet to check the extent of the burns which he did and said he was okay,” Mr. Adebanji had said. “The crew checked on the passenger several times to know how he was doing and at no time did the passenger raise an alarm about burns.”

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