A former Singapore Airlines cabin crew member is suing the carrier after he allegedly slipped and fell on a grease patch while working on a flight from San Francisco, United States (US).
Durairaj Santiran, 36, claims that while carrying out his duties on September 5, 2019, aboard an Airbus A350 he fell, resulting in him suffering a slipped disc.
According to the new broadcaster CNA, Santiran appeared in court on February 13, 2024, in Singapore wearing a brace for support.
The former employee claims that Singapore Airlines failed to provide a safe working procedure and a safe place to work by not addressing the grease patch, resulting in an unsafe area to develop.
“Had reasonable care been exercised the grease patch would have been removed or such steps taken to prevent access to the unsafe location,” Santiran’s lawyers told the court.
The court heard that Santiran slipped on the grease patch when he was serving customers and banged his head on the floor as he fell.
Due to the slip, he rested for the last part of the flight and was taken off the A350 at Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) in a wheelchair.
A lawyer for Singapore Airlines argued in court that there was no grease patch and if he had fallen this was not the cause. The lawyer also said that had he slipped on a grease patch then that fall was not the cause of his injuries.
Santiran had previously stated that when he noticed the grease patch shortly before takeoff, he informed his superior who asked him to clean it off.
After failing to remove the grease patch, Santiran advised his superior who said they would log the issue.
According to Santiran, his superior also asked the cabin crew to try and remove the grease for a second time before the first meal. The attempt was also unsuccessful.
In court the lawyer for Singapore Airlines disputed the timeline of events set out by Santiran and when he first saw the grease patch and informed his superior.
During cross-examination, the lawyer asked why he had not seen the patch during preflight checks.
The lawyer also questioned why he was telling the court he tried to clean up the grease patch before informing his superior when a previous statement contradicted that.
“You said you informed (your superior) then she told you to clean it up, but now your version is you saw the grease patch, you tried to clean it up before you told her, but you could not remove it, then you told her about this,” the lawyer said according to CNA .
Santiran admitted that the two accounts were different, and Justice Vinodh Coomaraswamy also pointed out that he had previously said crew members were asked to clean the stain when it was only him that was asked.
Santiran is seeking $1.26 million in damages including future loss of earnings.
The trial continues.