An elderly blind and diabetic man is calling out U.K.-based budget airline easyJet, alleging that the carrier wrongfully kicked him off of a flight, leaving him stranded in Paris earlier this month.
According to BelfastLive, 78-year-old Eric Smylie of Lisburn, Northern Ireland, was left without his aide, 64-year-old Davey Pogue, and proper medication as a result of the mishap.
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“I’m blind, diabetic and I have (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), so being left in Paris on my own has been a terrifying experience. I keep reliving the panic attacks,” Smylie told the news outlet. “I’m still shaking about it, I’ve lost my appetite, my confidence has gone and I feel nervous and afraid. My wife, Meta, who’s very ill, didn’t know if I was dead or alive. Neither of us will get over this.”
Smylie alleges that flight attendants accused him and Pogue of being drunk after they’d “had three of pints of beer in the airport.”
“Some other passengers from Northern Ireland stood up to try to help us and said it was obvious we weren’t drunk,” added Smylie. “I was shocked beyond belief. I found out later Davey was put in police cells and I ended up in the Holiday Inn Express. I was terrified. I couldn’t understand anyone or see anything.”
Smylie said that he and Pogue were eventually reunited at the airport and that he was able to book an Air France flight to Dublin, where he later caught a bus to Belfast.
“I was so frightened. I was in tears,” he told BelfastLive.
The airline has since apologized and confirmed that it’s looking into the incident.
“We are very sorry that this incident has caused distress for Mr. Smylie and Mr. Pogue and we are investigating to fully understand what happened and see if any lessons can be learned, a representative for easyJet told BelfastLive. “Mandatory safety reports which were filed at the time report that the passengers were disruptive and aggressive towards our crew which is why the police were called to intervene and the passengers were not permitted to travel.”
“We have contacted the French police to understand how the two men came to be separated after they were escorted from the aircraft,” the spokesperson added. “Unfortunately our customers did not contact us to let us know of their situation, so we didn’t offer assistance at the time.”