Woman sues two Singapore companies after falling from stretcher on flight to Hong Kong

Photo illustration of a person on a stretcher.
The Straits Times

A patient who fell from a stretcher during medical repatriation from Singapore to Hong Kong is suing two companies for negligence and a breach of duty of care, a court writ has shown.

The complainant, Luk Fung-yee, is suing Dnata Singapore Pte and IPA Singapore Pte, the two Singapore-based firms partly responsible for the travel arrangements on January 24, 2015, the writ filed on Tuesday said.

The litigation came just a year after Luk mounted a separate lawsuit to claim an unspecified amount of damages over the same incident from Cathay Pacific Airways, the airline used for the flight.

AIA International, which insured Luk, was also named as a defendant in that case, as well as two subcontractors, Inter Partner Assistance Hong Kong and Star Care Ambulance Services Pte.

In the latest writ, Luk’s lawyers said their client was dropped from a stretcher onto the floor of an aircraft during the course of the repatriation three years ago. It caused Luk to suffer unspecified injuries.

Staff from Dnata Singapore were involved in moving Luk, according to the writ, which did not say why she required medical repatriation.

“The first defendant was the ground handling agent responsible for servicing and handling the boarding of passengers onto the aircraft at the material time,” the writ read, referring to Dnata Singapore.

“The first defendant was also the employer of staff who were involved in the transfer of [Luk] by the stretcher,” it said.

According to its website, Dnata is headquartered in the United Arab of Emirates, specialising in flight services from ground handling to catering and freight services. It operates in 131 airports across six continents, providing services to 402 airlines.

The court document said IPA Singapore, possibly acting for Inter Partner Assistance Hong Kong, subcontracted the ambulance and stretcher service to Star Care Ambulance Services.

The lawyers argued that the two Singaporean firms had been negligent and were in breach of their duty to care for Luk, who is seeking an unspecified amount of damages, to be accessed by the court.

In the previous case filed, Luk cited the Montreal Convention and claimed that Cathay Pacific should be responsible for the acts and omissions of its ground handling agent in Singapore and of its ground staff, who had been involved in the transfer.

The Montreal Convention is a multilateral treaty involving rules for international carriage of passengers, baggage and cargo by air, and dealing with issues such as compensation and damages. Hong Kong put the convention into force in 2006.

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