news Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute | December 3, 2014 | 4:30 pm IST

Brazilian aviation authorities have questioned Gol Airlines and airport operator Infraero for allowing a disabled woman to crawl up the stairs to board a flight.

The inquiry began Tuesday into the case which occurred the day before at the airport in the border city of Foz do Iguaçu.

The airlines and the airport operator have been fined up to $116,000 for not paying attention to the needs of the passengers.

Katya Hemelrjik da Silva, who suffers from osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease, boarded the plane by crawling up the stairs as the airport did not have an elevator used by handicapped passengers to board aircraft.

The airport also lacks aero bridges to connect the terminal with the planes which forces passengers to use the steps.

According to Brazilian media, Gol Airlines offered the woman alternatives, but due to her medical condition she chose to crawl up the stairs on her own.

Hemelrjik da Silva however later wrote on her Facebook account after the picture started circulating the social network that the company offered a team to carry her to the aircraft.

She added that it was risky to be carried by other people, even her husband, on inclined stairs with a wet aluminium floor.

"Due to the lack of safer alternatives to board the aircraft, I had to use the stairs, because I was on the floor with no risk of falling, and the movements were under my control (and) I know my physical limits," she said.

The National Civil Aviation Agency has given two days to Gol and Infraero to explain how the incident was allowed to happen.

Hemelrijk da Silva said she had no intention of suing the airline and added that the crew was very helpful.


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