Mom Emily France was recently on a United Airlines flight with her 4-month-old son, Owen, at Denver International Airport, and their plane was grounded on the tarmac for nearly two hours on a sweltering hot day.
As a result, baby Owen overheated and had to be treated at a hospital. Now, France is speaking out.
“They were not equipped to handle it,” France told the Denver Post of the airline. “They couldn’t evacuate us. It was chaos. I really thought my son was going to die in my arms."
France had boarded her flight, which was scheduled to leave at 1:50 p.m., at 1:20 p.m.
France cooled Owen down with wipes and ice and was able to leave the plane with him for 20 minutes before being called back for takeoff, only to have the flight delayed again. Soon, Owen became dangerously affected by the hot cabin.
“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.”
The 39-year-old said that it took an estimated 30 minutes to leave the plane once she requested an ambulance, with the terrified mom crying as she sat by the door and waited for the flight crew and ground crew to decide whether to push stairs to the plane or return the plane to the gate.
“They seemed completely unprepared for a medical emergency,” she said.
Owen is now at home recovering after being treated for the heat at Children’s Hospital.
In an emailed statement, United said: “Yesterday, a child onboard flight 4644 at Denver International Airport experienced a medical issue while the aircraft was taxiing prior to takeoff. The pilot returned to the gate as our crew called for paramedics to meet the aircraft. Our thoughts are with the child and family, and we have been in contact to offer travel assistance.”
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