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American Airlines accused of negligence after Chinese couple injured in accident amid nor'easter turmoil

By Jiang Jie (People's Daily Online)    17:14, March 07, 2018

American Airlines has fallen under wide criticism from Chinese customers after allegedly loading passengers on a chartered bus trip amid the nor’easter turmoil that left an elderly Chinese couple injured in a car accident.

(file photo)

The accident took place on March 2 when American Airlines flight 4664 scheduled to fly from Minneapolis to New York got diverted to Baltimore by the massive nor’easter. When transported by chartered bus to New York, the Chinese couple, who spoke limited English, was struck by an oncoming vehicle during a rest stop, Stefani Kuo, a passenger on the flight who was accompanying the couple, told People’s Daily Online.

According to Kuo, the bus trip was unattended and passengers were provided with no information such as travel time and agenda. During the 10 hour trip that only covered about 48 kilometers, passengers were given few chances to use the bathroom, having to relieve themselves on the side of the highway during one stop.

The driver had made a stop at a McDonald’s parking lot when the accident happened. The couple had allegedly tried to cross the road to get back to the bus, which would leave at an uninformed time.

“I saw a truck stopped in front of a body on the ground. And then another car and then another body on the ground. There was blood. Both bodies were faced down,” wrote Kuo in her recount of the scene originally published on WordPress. The two bodies were later confirmed by police at scene as the old Chinese couple.

Upset, Kuo informed the bus and the other passengers of the accident, but the bus allegedly drove away and returned to Baltimore–Washington International Airport, where the couple’s luggage remained unattended. It was through her personal efforts that she tracked down the couple at Bayview Hospital and informed the airliner of their injured passengers.

Kuo said the husband was found with severe spinal fractures and a broken neck, while the wife was unconscious when she arrived at the hospital, and she helped with translations, without any assistance from the airliner.

In a statement to People’s Daily Online, Michelle Mohr, a spokesperson for the airliner, confirmed the accident but revealed no further details regarding their condition.

The statement claimed that the airliner deployed their Customer Assistance Relief Effort Team, or CARE Team, to assist the couple and their son, whom they were headed to visit.

“Our CARE Team is still working with the family and our number one priority is making sure that they have the support and care they need at a difficult time. We wish the couple a full and speedy recovery,” the statement said.

“We recognize that Friday was a difficult day for those passengers traveling via bus from Baltimore to New York. We apologize for the inconvenience to their travels with us. Our Customer Relations team is working with them as well,” it added.

Kuo failed to offer more updates on the couple and refused to further comment on the issue.

As the only witness in the Chinese-related accident, she reportedly received a $700 voucher as a symbol of gratitude after the accident, but the company has failed to reply to her, even though she tried to contact them twice by email, twice by Twitter, and once by phone.

The accident has aroused much discontent among Chinese customers, who demand that American Airlines apologize to the couple and provide them with compensation.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Jiang Jie, Bianji)

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