US & Canada

Delta and KLM sued over 'too fat to fly' Vilma Soltesz

A Delta Airlines worker loads food onto a plane last week
Delta Airlines says its staff spent an hour trying to get Mrs Soltesz on board

The husband of a US woman who was too big to be flown home from Europe - where she later died - is to sue the airlines involved for damages.

Vilma Soltesz, who weighed about 30st (193kg), was refused a place on two flights in October.

She died of kidney failure before a suitable flight could be found, after refusing treatment from local doctors.

Delta Airlines said every effort was made to accommodate her but it had been "physically unable" to get her aboard.

But Peter Ronai, the lawyer acting for her husband, Janos, told CBS: "They [the airlines] took on the responsibility to get her to Hungary, it's their responsibility to get her back."

Mrs Soltesz needed to return to New York from her holiday home in Hungary to resume medical treatment.

She suffered from kidney disease and diabetes and reportedly "did not trust" Hungarian doctors.

But the Dutch airline KLM was unable to get her on board a flight on which she had booked two seats to accommodate her.

She was then told to drive to Prague in the Czech Republic where she would be given seats on a larger Delta Airlines flight.

But, according to Mr Ronai, she was unable to be belted into that plane and "the captain came out of the cockpit and made her get off".

Mrs Soltesz died of kidney failure before an alternative flight could be found.

In a statement Delta Airlines and KLM said they had done everything possible to assist the family.

"Our records indicate Delta staff in Prague made repeated attempts for nearly an hour to board the customer, but they were unable to get her onboard the aircraft," Delta claimed.

Mr Soltesz is seeking $6m (£3.7m; 4.6m euros) in damages from Delta and KLM.

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