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Australian left thirsty on Emirates flight loses injury case

ROD McGUIRK

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A passenger who said she was left thirsty by an Emirates cabin crew and broke her ankle when she fainted on the flight lost her case in an Australian court on Tuesday for compensation.

Lina Di Falco, 54, sued the United Arab Emirates-based airline in the Victoria state Supreme Court for damages over a broken ankle sustained on the flight from Melbourne to Dubai in 2015.

Di Falco testified she felt nauseous after her first meal in the economy cabin and fainted because of dehydration while walking to a toilet.

She had asked cabin crew for water four times and said she only received a small amount in a cup with her meal. She didn't notice a drinking fountain in a galley area five rows behind her.

Justice Jacinta Forbes found Di Falco's requests for water "were not refused, merely deferred to later."

The judge found that the airline was not liable under the Montreal Convention, which sets out compensation rules for victims of air disasters, because "nothing unusual or unexpected" occurred during the flight that would meet the definition of an "accident."

Emirates later said the airline welcomed the verdict.

"The health and safety of our passengers and crew is of paramount importance," Emirates said in a statement on Wednesday.

Cabin crew supervisor Leon van der Plas testified during the trial that passengers faint two or three times a week. Two weeks rarely passed without at least one passenger fainting, he said.