Coroner urges airlines to carry defibrillators after woman's death

Airlines should carry defibrillators on board as a matter of course, a coroner has claimed. His call came following the death of a British mother of two on a Ryanair flight to Lanzarote.

A coronor has called for the installation of defibrillators on airplanes following the death of a woman on a Ryanair flight on the way to a holiday in Lanzarote

A coronor has called for the installation of defibrillators on airplanes following the death of a woman on a Ryanair flight on the way to a holiday in Lanzarote Image by Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The Daily Telegaph reports that 47-year-old Davina Tavener was flying out to the Canary island for a holiday with her husband when she became seriously ill three hours into the flight. The inquest heard that her husband, Andrew, raised the alarm when his wife failed to return from the toilet. Cabin crew found her collapsed, with what is understood to be a previously undiagnosed heart problem - when they forced the door open. Despite the best efforts of a consultant breast surgeon from the Royal Bolton Hospital and the flight crew and passengers, they were unable to revive her.

The medic, Clare Garnsey said in court that she was unable to feel a pulse and her belief was that Mrs Tavener had died on the plane. She stressed that she was surprised when she found out there was no defibrillator - claiming that they were vital to a person surviving during cardiac events. However carriers under current legislation are not required to have defibrillators on their planes.

On arrival at Lanzarote, the plane was met by paramedics who rushed her to hospital. The Coroner Alan Walsh ruled that the cause of death was unknown - she had died of a naturally occurring disease. Mr Walsh said that Ryanair staff had followed all safety protocols. He also paid tribute to all those who had helped, particularly Ms Garnsey.

The Coroner said he would write to various aviation authorities concerning the possibility of installing defibrillators on planes onboard in future, as well as other medical aids which would provide more dignity to those being treated onboard.

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