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Cathay Pacific Airways is facing accusations that staff at a VIP lounge at the Hong Kong airport were negligent in their duties after a woman collapsed while taking a shower at the facility.
A man has complained that his 63-year-old sister may have lain unattended for almost an hour after she fainted in a shower room of the VIP lounge over the weekend.
In a Facebook post, the man wrote that his sister, who was traveling to San Francisco along with her husband, went to the lounge at about 5.50 pm on Saturday to take a pre-flight shower.
When she did not show up at the agreed time of 6:05 pm to meet with her husband at the door of the lounge, the husband asked the lounge staff if they knew where his wife was.
The husband was told that the woman should be in Room 23 at the facility. When he went there, he found the door locked and no one responding from inside, Apple Daily reported.
Hence the husband thought that his companion may have already left for the boarding gate. He went there but didn’t find her.
He then approached the boarding gate staff and had a paging announcement made for the woman.
But she still didn’t show up. Flight CX892 then took off at 7:05 pm for San Francisco without the couple, according to the Facebook post of the woman’s brother.
Investigations later revealed that the woman was found lying naked and unconscious on the floor of a shower cubicle — Room 22 — at the VIP lounge.
The husband was informed about the incident, and the woman was sent to the North Lantau Hospital.
She was later transferred to Princess Margaret Hospital, where doctors determined that she had suffered serious cerebral hemorrhage.
Cathay Pacific confirmed the incident and said the case is being handled by the police and that no further information can be provided.
It said passengers are required to present their boarding pass and lounge access card only at the reception of its airport lounges for eligibility verification.
“Once inside the lounges, passengers can use the facilities freely without the need to present such passes again and there is no time limit for shower use,” it said.
In the Facebook post, the woman’s brother accused Cathay staff of negligence, saying that they failed to check the shower facilities quickly after the report of the missing woman.
As the woman was found only at around 6.45 pm, almost an hour after she entered the lounge, she might have been lying unconscious for a long time in the shower room.
Had the lounge staff bothered to keep track of her movements, they could have sensed that something was amiss and carried out an inspection early, the brother said.
He said he would be filing a complaint to Cathay’s chief executive Ivan Chu Kwok-leung over the incident.
According to doctors, the woman has very small chance of survival as she has suffered excessive internal bleeding, news website reported.
Dr. Yuen Mang-ho, a specialist in neurology, said the woman might have been struck by an acute heart attack or an acute stroke before she collapsed.
Due to the delay in medical attention, the woman could suffer partial paralysis or she could even die, he said.
Apple Daily cited an airline spokesman as saying that it may be unrealistic to expect lounge staff to keep track of all the passengers as the employees do not keep the boarding passes.