Air Canada killed my dad, says Indian-origin woman whose father died after Delhi-Montreal flight

Ayaan Paul
Ayaan PaulNov 07, 2023 | 15:54

Air Canada killed my dad, says Indian-origin woman whose father died after Delhi-Montreal flight

An Indian-origin Canadian woman, Shanu Pande, has levelled serious allegations of negligence against Air Canada, claiming that their actions or lack thereof played a role in the tragic death of her 83-year-old father during a long-haul flight from Delhi to Montreal. 

What happened

This incident unfolded in September, when Pande and her father, Harish Pant, embarked on a journey from India to Canada.

  • The journey had been highly anticipated as her father, finally with permanent residency status, was set to make the significant move from India to Canada.
  • Approximately seven hours into the flight, as the aircraft soared over Europe, Pant began experiencing alarming and severe medical distress.


According to reports from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Pant's condition rapidly deteriorated. 

  • He suffered from excruciating chest pain, severe back pain, and unrelenting vomiting.
  • Additionally, he faced a loss of bowel control and was rendered unable to stand. 
  • Pande was thrust into a state of panic as her father's condition worsened before her eyes.

In a desperate plea for immediate medical assistance, Pande turned to the cabin crew of Air Canada, imploring them to divert the flight and facilitate an emergency landing to get her father the urgently needed medical attention. 

Crew's response

Despite her emotional distress and frantic appeals, the plane continued its course for an additional nine hours, passing over several locations, including Ireland, the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, and Eastern Canada, before finally landing in Montreal. 

  • Paramedics were present upon arrival, but tragically, Pant passed away during the medical treatment he received at a hospital in Montreal.
  • Pant was officially pronounced dead at a Montreal hospital due to a "presumed infarction", indicating the death of heart tissue. 


The journey from Delhi to Montreal typically spans close to 17 hours, and during that time, Pande recounts the heart-wrenching experience, saying,

"He was deteriorating in front of my eyes." 

Pande is haunted by the belief that her father's life might have been saved if Air Canada had recognised the severity of his symptoms and acted promptly. 

She described her state during the flight as deeply distressing and emotional, saying, 

"I was very hysterical. My mind was gone at this point."

Two months after the devastating incident, Pande's grief has transformed into anger and disbelief. She accused Air Canada of being negligent, stating,

"They were callous and inhumane." 

Airline responds

In response to the allegations, Air Canada denied any responsibility for the passenger's death.

  • According to the CBC, the airline's spokesperson, Peter Fitzpatrick, asserted that the crew had "properly followed the procedures" for handling onboard medical emergencies.
  • However, when pressed for details about these procedures, Fitzpatrick declined to elaborate.

This tragic event has sparked major public attention and raised crucial questions about airlines' protocol and responsiveness in dealing with in-flight medical emergencies and has people worried over the prospects of similar potential critical situations regarding the duty of care and the decision-making process.

Last updated: November 07, 2023 | 15:54
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