January 12, 2007
Pregnant teen left stranded at Union Island airport

Union Islanders are furious that a pregnant teenager, in need of urgent medical attention, was left behind by Grenadines Airlines last weekend.

Antoinette Lewis, who is seven months pregnant, began experiencing pain last Saturday night and when it worsened the next morning, she was advised to go to St Vincent for urgent medical attention as there was no doctor on the island.{{more}}

A relative of Lewis told SEARCHLIGHT that after much effort they were able to secure a space for her on the flight when one passenger agreed to give up his seat to accommodate her for the 20-minute trip but the problems arose when the pilot, Jerry Cordice, refused to wait for Lewis to be transported to the airport from the hospital.

Despite pleas from several persons, the pilot did not budge and Antoinette reached in time to see the plane leaving.

“Who is liable if something goes wrong on the flight, we cannot carry such a passenger unless they are accompanied by a doctor,” said Cordice, who added that although he carried emergency cases on regular flights in the past it was not proper policy, and this was well known.

“She needed a chartered flight, where she could lay down and be accompanied by a doctor or nurse,” Cordice said.

He said that was explained to the Grenadines Airline ground agents at the Union Island airport and even though the favour may have been done in the past he said that “we are living in a changing world, you can’t take those risks.”

A flight was later chartered and the 17-year-old Antoinette was resting comfortably at the Milton Cato Memorial hospital but was still shaken by the incident.

“If the pilot heard it was an emergency why he couldn’t carry me, suppose something had happened to me or my baby,” she asked.

“I am just glad I am alright and I want my baby to be ok,” she said.