Family Sues Airline After Disabled Grandmother Falls to Death on Escalator

A family is suing Alaska Airlines and a contractor after a disabled grandmother tumbled down an escalator in the Portland, Oregon, Airport and later died.

In June, 75-year-old Bernice Kekona was attempting to catch a connecting flight at the Portland International Airport when she tumbled 21 steps down an escalator while seat-belted to her power wheelchair, the Daily Mail reports. Kekona suffered trauma to her head and her chest, a cut to her Achilles tendon, and gashes on the side of her face. She later died in the hospital after her leg had to be amputated due to infection.

Now, Kekona's family is suing Alaska Airlines and Huntleigh USA for failing to provide agreed upon gate-to-gate transportation, resulting in the 75-year-old's fall and subsequent death.

According to court documents, Kekona's family allege that she was supposed to receive assistance to her next gate upon arrival to the airport. Kekona showed her ticket to an Alaska Airlines employee at her arrival gate, who directed her to where she needed to go, but Kekona was never given disability service through the airport.

Alaska Airlines claimed that "it appears that Ms Kekona declined ongoing assistance in the terminal and decided to proceed on her own to her connecting flight," and noted that reservation did not note any "cognitive, visual or auditory impairments."


The family is seeking reparations for damages, expenses, and any "further relief as the court may deem just and proper."