An overstuffed overhead caused a serious accident. (Photo: Thinkstock)
When flight attendants warn us to be careful opening the overhead bins as some items may have shifted, they mean it.
An elderly woman was knocked unconscious by a shoe that fell out of an overhead locker during a Thomas Cook Airlines flight. The accident forced the plane to make an emergency landing.
79-year-old Hilda Holland and her husband, John, were flying home to England after a vacation in the Canary Islands. They tell the Daily Mail, a woman sitting behind them got up to open the overhead bin. When the woman pulled out a sweater, the couple says she accidentally pulled out a heavy leather suede shoe that fell and hit Hilda on the back of the head.
“My husband came over and asked what had happened and I must have gone into shock because I couldn’t speak,” Hilda tells the Daily Mail about the accident. “The lady said sorry but I couldn’t say anything back.”
“Ten minutes later I looked over and she was shaking and pale,” John Holland tells the British paper. “I thought she wasn’t going to make it, I had never seen her like that. I’ve never been so worried in my life.”
Things got even more worrisome when Hilda fell unconscious. Two off-duty nurses on board the flight administered first aid while the plane diverted to Lisbon, Portugal. A fellow passenger on the flight tells the Daily Mail: “You could see panic in the eyes of the crew but they remained very calm.”
After the plane’s emergency landing, Hilda was rushed to a Lisbon hospital. Fortunately, a CT scan showed no serious damage.
Hilda blames the accident on fees airlines charge to check baggage, which she feels encourage people to stuff as much as they can into their carry-ons. “It was obviously a loose shoe that wasn’t in a bag secure,” she tells the Daily Mail. “I am lucky I wasn’t more seriously injured.”
After she was held overnight in Lisbon for observation, the couple caught another flight home to England. That may have been their last flight; the couple says they’ll never fly again.
“It’s not worth the risk,” Hilda says. “My husband thought he’d lost me.”