After Emily France’s infant was hospitalized, this Colorado mom is speaking out about the airline she believes almost killed her baby.
When Emily and her 4-month-old, Owen, were traveling from Denver to El Paso, Texas, the family’s flight was delayed. All of the passengers were kept on the tarmac for an estimated two hours as the temperature soared due to a heat wave. “They were not equipped to handle it,” Emily told The Denver Post. “They couldn’t evacuate us. It was chaos. I really thought my son was going to die in my arms.”
According to the National Weather Service, it had already reached 90 degrees before Emily and her baby boarded the aircraft. Their seats were in the back of the plane, and Emily said that it was already hot by the time they sat down. “There was just hot air coming from the vents,” Emily said.
The flight was then delayed due to bad weather, so Emily tried to cool Owen off with wet wipes. As he began to overheat, flight attendants brought garbage bags filled with ice for the infant. “We just sat and sat and sat,” Emily said. “I hit my call button and said, ‘I think it’s getting dangerously hot back here.'”
Emily and Owen were allowed to exit the aircraft for 20 minutes but after they boarded again, they flight was delayed for a second time. Emily then took Owen to the front of the plane and stood by the opened door along with another mother and her struggling infant. As this other mom undressed her baby and placed ice on his body, Owen began to show signs of serious distress. “His whole body flashed red and his eyes rolled back in his head and he was screaming,” France said. “And then he went limp in my arms. It was the worst moment of my life.”
According to Emily, passengers had to beg for an ambulance while flight attendants disagreed over the best course of action. She said that Owen continued to slip in and out of consciousness throughout the estimated 30 minutes it took for the plane to taxi to the gate. “They seemed completely unprepared for a medical emergency,” Emily said.
Airlines are currently allowed to keep passengers waiting on the tarmac for two hours but Emily wants this policy to take weather into account. “If the temperature in the plane gets above a certain level, passengers should be taken off immediately,” she said.
Owen was treated at Children’s Hospital and is now recovering at home.