EasyJet flyer died in escalator fall at UK airport after not using wheelchair
An elderly disabled passenger who died after reportedly falling from an escalator at Gatwick Airport fractured his spine in the accident, an inquest heard today.
Gerardo Silano, 82, died following an incident in the North Terminal after getting off an easyJet flight in June, following a holiday with his wife and son.
Irma Silano, 78, was taken off the plane in a pre-booked special assistance buggy that Mr Silano was also supposed to avail of, before he decided to disembark on his own, the inquest heard.
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Pasquale Silano, 49, was taking his mother to the lift, thinking his father would follow – but instead, the elderly gentleman, from Basingstoke, Hampshire, had headed up towards Gatwick's Skybridge on an escalator.
In a statement read to the inquest, Mr Silano said he saw his dad laying in a heap at the bottom of the escalator after he heard a commotion.
He said: "I heard a woman shout and then a woman scream. When I approached the escalator and looked down it I could see my dad lying at the bottom of it.
"I dropped my bag and ran down the escalator and saw some easyJet staff running to help him. I held my dad's hand. I could see in his eyes he was hurt. My dad had fallen some distance."
The mourning son said easyJet staff took over and helped his father into a recovery position. An ambulance was called but Mr Silano was pronounced dead at the scene despite the efforts of the ambulance service and wider first responders.
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Pasquale's statement continued: "Dad lived a long and good life and he had weathered and triumphed over so many things recently we thought he was indestructible.
"Being a grandfather showed us his softer side. He loved his family and was always at his happiest when he was surrounded by them. Dad also had a love for gardening and enjoyed his days at the allotment."
The inquest was adjourned to a date next year for further evidence.
A spokesman for Gatwick Airport said: "Our thoughts continue to be with the Silano family at this difficult time.
"It would not be appropriate to go into detail ahead of the conclusion of the inquest. However, what I can say is special assistance was provided as requested and did not play a role in the sad incident."
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