A disabled bishop has reported to police claims that he was forced to crawl from the plane of a local airline.
Bishop Jackson Kosgei of Worldwide Gospel Church of Kenya has said he had to crawl from the plane at JKIA after staff said they could not help him get down.
After a 40-minute standoff, Bishop Kosgei says he was ordered to alight on his own by Fly540 attendants when it landed at JKIA from Eldoret in spite of his disability.
He complained about his treatment to JKIA police and OB No 18/11/5/2014 states that the airline staff refused to allow anybody to support him as he disembarked.
Eldoret lift The bishop, who is the father of gospel musician Emmy Kosgei, told NairobiNews he was helped by the airline’s staff to board the plane at Eldoret using a lift, only to be told by Fly540 staff at JKIA that such services were not offered.
“I was rudely told that they do not offer lift services disabled persons need. No one was also allowed to carry me down the stairs,” he said.
He went on: “I had to crawl down the stairs and used my pair of trousers to clean the stairs as I alighted and I found it outrageous and a direct assault on all persons with physical challenges.” He said attempts to get help from the airline’s management bore no fruit as the supervisor told him company policy did not allow them to carry disabled passengers.
“It was a standoff that lasted 40 minutes; they could not allow anyone to carry me.
The officer who came to intervene made it worse as he casually told me that their company policy was never to carry people who cannot support themselves around,” he said “Even the officers at the Airport police admitted that this was a unique case; it is an assault on my personal dignity and it must not go unpunished,” he protested in a letter to the airline’s management.
The letter stated, in part: “I felt humiliated. I wish to inform you that this is against the law and I will take the necessary action within the confines of human rights provisions provided for in our Constitution and International Air Transport Association to protect the rights of persons with physical disabilities.” Bishop Kosgei contracted polio when he was five years old and has been disabled since.
Fly540 chief executive officer Don Smith commented: “We do not carry people who cannot physically support themselves; our terms and conditions are very clear on this. We are not allowed to carry them, people who cannot physically walk.” Asked how in that case the bishop was allowed on the plane in the first place, Mr Smith said: “I have no report on that but I have requested to be furnished with it by the operations director.” Excellent service Mr Nickson Ooko, the company’s operations director said he was not aware of the incident but stated that their operating licence did not allow them to carry people who were immobile. He denied that Bishop Kosgei could have been mistreated.
“We do not have the equipment to carry passengers who are on stretcher or those who completely cannot support themselves but this does not include persons who are on wheelchairs.
“Let me find out but we should tread with caution on this because we have an excellent customer service,” he said.