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Thursday, December 7, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Thursday, December 7, 2023 | Back issues
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Elderly Man Freezes|to Death on Airline

LAS VEGAS (CN) - An 85-year-old man froze to death after being left in the back of a Korean Air Lines plane in subzero temperatures during a stopover in Seoul, his family claims in court.

The late Romeo Teodoro, of Las Vegas, was returning from the Philippines with his son, Ernesto, Teodoro's daughter Rosemarie T. Bone says in the federal lawsuit.

Teodoro, though afflicted with diabetes and needing a wheelchair, saw a doctor before his return flight and was given a clean bill of health, his daughter says.

On Dec. 5, 2013 that father and son boarded a Korean Air Lines flight bound for Las Vegas with a stopover in Seoul.

During the stopover, Bone says, the flight attendants forgot about her father, who was left in the last row of the unheated airplane and was unable to leave without assistance.

While Ernesto waited for his father to leave the plane, Bone says, the flight crew "apparently forgot about Romeo or willfully failed to assist him and negligently left him in his seat on the empty aircraft."

Bone says the outdoor temperature was -5 degrees Fahrenheit, and the airline crew opened the back door while Romeo was still on board, with snow flying into the aircraft.

"Romeo was eventually noticed and assisted off the aircraft after having been subjected to intense cold temperatures for an unreasonable and unnecessary time," Bone says. "While waiting for the connecting flight to Las Vegas, Romeo was complaining of chills and otherwise suffering."

Bone says Romeo and Ernesto eventually boarded the flight home to Las Vegas and fell asleep. En route, Ernesto found his father "unresponsive." She says the flight crew had Ernesto "carry his unresponsive father to the rear of the plane. There a retired physician tried to revive Romeo, performing CPR to no avail."

Bone says her father died "as a result of negligent, reckless or intentional conduct" of the flight crew and others under the control of Korean Air Lines.

The family seeks punitive damages from Korean Air Lines for negligence, wrongful death, emotional distress, violations of the Death on the High Seas Act and violations of rules for international carriage by air.

They are represented by Randal R. Leonard, of Las Vegas.

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