‘Paramedics took far too long to arrive,’ ACSA responds to DA’s Chris Pappas’ claims over medical emergency at OR Tambo International Airport

A passenger got sick at the Departure’s gate at OR Tambo International Airport. Picture: Facebook

A passenger got sick at the Departure’s gate at OR Tambo International Airport. Picture: Facebook

Published May 13, 2024


The Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has clarified an incident in which an elderly traveller got sick at the domestic departures at OR Tambo International Airport in Gauteng.

ACSA issued a statement this weekend following the incident on Wednesday.

OR Tambo International Airport Regional General Manager Jabu Khambule confirmed that two calls were received at 12.09pm and 12.10pm, both reporting a medical emergency at gate E9 domestic departures.

“The first call was from the Airlink boarding agent to the ACSA control room on the internal line, and the second was from Mr. Christopher Pappas.

“Paramedics were dispatched and arrived at the scene at 12.16 as per our CCTV footage.

“The passenger was treated by the paramedics on scene, and at the airport clinic before being referred to ARWYP Medical Centre in Kempton Park,” says Khambule.

Following the incident, Democratic Alliance’s Christopher Pappas posted on X.

— Christopher Pappas (@MayorPappas) May 8, 2024

ACSA said the facts contradict the version of events posted by Pappas on X.

“Mr. Pappas’s primary grievance or complaint was a perceived lack of organised, prompt emergency responses and protocols from the staff on duty as well as a lack of training and/or equipping of staff on duty to handle medical emergencies of this nature.

“In response to this claim, we can confirm that the response time under the Service Level Agreement between ACSA and the paramedics is 10 minutes, and this emergency was responded to in seven minutes from the time of the initial call made by the Airlink boarding agent and six minutes from the recorded call of Mr. Pappas.

“In view of these facts, the airport management team at ORTIA is satisfied that the incident was responded to efficiently and effectively and in line with the protocols and procedures in place,” says Khambule.

He said ACSA remains committed to upholding the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) standards and recommended practices (SARPs) for the safety, efficiency, and regularity of international civil aviation.

ACSA added that it acknowledges the likely trauma borne by bystanders who witnessed the medical emergency unfold.

“We would like to apologise to our passengers and customers for any discomfort this may have caused.”

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