MAS crew grounded
... pending investigations into body-in-toilet episode
Wednesday, August 4
PETALING JAYA: Six Malaysia Airlines cabin crew members have been taken off flight duties until the completion of investigations into the discovery of a dead passenger in the toilet of the aircraft they were operating on.
The body was discovered by the cleaning crew about 20 minutes after the passengers and crew disembarked after flight MH767 had arrived from Ho Chi Minh City at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at about 10.50pm on Saturday.
It was believed that in their haste to disembark, the cabin crew had missed checking the toilets. It was believed the 38-year-old man was found in the toilet of the economy class of the Boeing 737 airliner.
It was also learnt the police found an empty syringe in the toilet.
Sepang deputy police chief Baharudin Mustapha told The Malay Mail that the case has been classified as sudden death and no foul play was suspected, following a post-mortem.
It is, however, believed that the man may have been an addict.
Baharudin declined to name the man who was on transit at KLIA to Australia, saying the body had since been released to the Australian High Commission for repatriation. Checks showed Malaysia Airlines flies three times daily between KLIA and Ho Chi Minh City.
The Malay Mail was informed the flight and cabin crew will face an internal inquiry to determine why they failed to adhere to standard operating procedure to ensure the airliner was empty before they disembarked.
Sources informed The Paper That Cares the cabin crew was supposed to check all the toilets before and after landing.
The inquiry is also expected to focus on how the man had managed to smuggle in the syringe into the airliner.
Malaysia Airlines Director of Operations Captain Mohamed Azharuddin Osman, in a statement to The Malay Mail, said: "We express our deepest condolences and sympathy to the family of the deceased. The customer was travelling from Ho Chi Minh to Kuala Lumpur. Upon MH767's arrival in Kuala Lumpur at 1050pm (Malaysian time) on Saturday, July 31, the customer was found unconscious in the aircraft lavatory by the ground crew. The ambulance was called and the doctor on duty confirmed that the customer has passed away.
"Malaysia Airlines has standard operating procedures in place whereby the crew is to check through the cabin and aircraft lavatories to ensure that no baggage or items are left behind after all passengers have disembarked. Investigations are currently ongoing into the matter.
"The crew will be taken off their flight duties until the completion of the investigations.”
Guidelines on syringes onboard
LIKE other international airlines, Malaysia Airlines has strict rules on bringing syringes and needles as carry-on luggage.
According to its baggage information posted on its website, the national carrier states: "All medication should have a professional pharmaceutical label on the container if you are transporting medication in your carry-on luggage. If you require a medical syringe, you must have the needle guard intact."
Most airlines also follow the guidelines by International Air Travel Association that if for medical reasons, passengers need to inject themselves during the flight, they are permitted to carry syringes in the cabin. They will be asked to produce appropriate medical evidence (such as a doctor's letter) when they check-in and at security screening points. This should be kept with them at all times
Metzelder says: Firstly I would like to wish condolence to deceased and family.
Indeed it was a sad story that hit out 5 star Malaysia Airlines, but I throughly support and ready to know the truth of it. Generally, we are proud of the high standard of professionalism of MAS cabin and ground crews.
Preventive measures should be taken to avoid such mishap from happening again.
Always fly with Malaysia Airlines!