Chaz Carl Powell, a Black British man, was denied entry onto a flight in a Jamaican airport while needing a blood transfusion and died days later.
On March 9, staff members at the British Airways located in Montego Bay denied Powell of boarding, stating that his passport was in poor condition, claiming certain parts of his documentation were invalid, despite him alerting them that he was in need of a vital blood transfusion.
Powell had been vacationing with his girlfriend, Monique Allen, in Jamaica but needed to return home to England to undergo treatment for sickle cell anemia at King’s College Hospital, a procedure that he had undergone regularly.
In a desperate attempt to return home for the life-saving treatment, Powell went to the British Consulate to have a new passport photo taken. In his photo, his eyes are visibly yellow, a common symptom caused by jaundice found in severe cases in which the skin can also turn yellow.
Allen revealed that as Powell waited for his documentation to be approved that he complained about his symptoms growing increasingly unbearable and how he struggled to eat. Days later, he died after sources say he suffered from organ failure.
British Airways released a statement that read, “We’re saddened to hear that one of our customers has passed away and our thoughts are with his friends and family at this difficult time. Airlines are required by law to ensure that all documents presented for travel are valid. … the photo page of his passport was so badly damaged it could no longer be regarded as a valid travel document.”
She added, “That should never have happened, they had no right to take control of my son’s life.”