The husband of a Bronx woman who weighed 425 pounds at the time of her death says the three airlines that failed to fly her back home for medical treatment are directly responsible for her untimely demise.
Janos and Vilma Soltesz had flown via KLM to their native country of Hungary on September 17th without issue.
After vacationing there for a few weeks, the couple boarded a return KLM flight to New York, but were soon told they had to deplane as a problem with the seat back and the lack of a proper seat-belt extender prevented Vilma from being securely fastened.
Soltesz's lawyer Holly Ostrov-Ronai insists KLM was aware of Vilma's condition and had even emailed the couple to ask when they were returning home "so that they could make proper arrangements."
KLM, for its part, says it made "every effort" to assist Vilma, but "it was not physically possible for her to board the aircraft."
According to Soltesz, Vilma desperately needed to return to the States to continue her treatment for kidney disease and diabetes, which had already claimed one of her legs and forced her to use a wheelchair.
Soltesz said neither he nor Vilma trusted the doctors in "former Communist Hungary" to treat her and "attend to her needs."
KLM eventually managed to find a seat for Vilma aboard a "bigger" Delta plane, but after a five-hour drive to Prague, the couple was once again prevented from boarding.
An airline spokesman said Delta crew members were "physically unable to board" Vilma onto the aircraft because there was no one around to operate the sky-lift.
Returning to Hungary, the couple tried their luck again with Lufthansa, but, once again, were met with difficulties.
Despite working for over 30 minutes with "local partners, the fire brigade and technical experts," Vilma was still unable to securely fasten her seatbelt, and the captain decided to ask her to leave "for the safety of this passenger and the over 140 fellow passengers."
Vilma's health began to deteriorate rapidly and she died of kidney failure two days later.
Soltesz is now planning to sue the airlines for their part in his wife's death.
"Janos is heartbroken," his attorney told ABC News. "The only thing that keeps him going day to day is that he wants justice for what was done to Vilma and to try to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else in the future."
[screengrab via TV2]