Thursday, November 15, 2007


Terrible Tragedy at Vancouver Airport

This was a case where sending an interpreter would be imperative. Stupid, more stupid and deadly.

Sharon Raphael

Article from Yahoo News Nov. 15th 2007

VANCOUVER, Canada (AFP) - The death of a Polish emigre after police stunned him with a taser at an airport here sparked a diplomatic incident, with Poland demanding full details of the subsequent investigation.

The Polish government issued a diplomatic note asking "Canadian authorities to provide us promptly with full and transparent results of the investigation of this tragic accident," Maciej Krych, Poland's consul general in this western Canadian city, told AFP.

Robert Dziekanski, 40, died on October 14 after a brief struggle with security guards and police, who were called after he started throwing things and screaming in the airport's arrival zone.

A preliminary coroner's report Friday showed there were no drugs or alcohol in Dziekanski's body, said the lawyer for Zofia Cisowski, the dead man's mother.

Dziekanski, a construction worker, had flown from Frankfurt to live with his mother in Canada. He spoke only Polish, had never travelled before and was "scared" and "stressed" by the journey, said the lawyer, Walter Kosteckyj.

Dziekanski waited for his mother in the airport's luggage area, but she was not allowed to enter the secure zone and could not find anyone to tell her if her son had arrived, said Kosteckyj. After several hours, she left.

A few feet away from her, on the other side of the security zone wall, Dziekanski waited for 10 hours, said the lawyer.

"It's unbelievable you have a guy sitting in what is supposed to be a secure area for 10 hours ... without immigration or airport authorities at least asking the guy or finding out what the problem is," he said.

When Dziekanski finally emerged into the public arrivals area, there was no one to meet him and it had been 25 hours since he left home, said Kosteckyj.

"He was not a sophisticated traveller... He was a fellow simply lost in an English-speaking world unable to communicate."............